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Wednesday, 30 June 1915

Sir JOHN" FORREST (SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Yes. For a long time after a new line is opened the mails are not sent over it, because the charges made by the Railway Department are far greater than those incurred in despatching them by road. In many cases for this reason the mails are not being sent by rail. I hope this state of affairs will not continue. I have found it difficult to understand why the State should appear to be so determined to deny their own people the facilities of postal communication.

Mr SHARPE - This is practically a State matter.

Sir JOHN FORREST - It relates to the Postal Department, but, in a sense, it is a State matter, since it is in the interests of the States, who own the railways, that postal facilities should be extended to their own people. The extension of postal facilities means the promotion of settlement. When I have been approached on the subject, I have always said to those concerned, " You should approach your representatives in the State Parliament, and induce them to agitate for the facilities to which you are entitled. You should not be inconvenienced in this way." It is most annoying to people in country districts to see a train drawing into their stations daily, and yet carrying no mails. It is difficult to understand why the States should drive such a hard bargain with the Commonwealth with regard to the carriage of mails over these branch or spur lines. There should be no obstacle in the way of an arrangement to carry all mail matter at so much per mile, and to j)ay that rate in respect of all new spur lines.

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