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Wednesday, 30 June 1915

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) .- I am aware that honorable members desireto get through the Estimates to-night, and at this hour I do not propose to- occupy more than, a very few minutes. I have listened to a similar debate on the Estimates- of the Post and. Telegraph Department every year since- I have been a member of this House. We do. not seem to be any further forward to-day than> we were four or five years ago. "We seem rather to be going back, because the loss on the Post and Telegraph Department is increasing every year. The more I look into the matter the more convinced I am that the trouble lies, not so much in the actual charges made to the public as in the lack of real business management in the conduct of the Department. A reference to the figures presented for the consideration of honorable members in the Budget-papers in connexion with the Estimates for the year which has just expired will provide the greatest confirmation of the statement I have just made. I wish to PUt some of these figures on record. I find from the Budget-papers that in 1902-3 there were 10,259 employees in the Post and Telegraph Department, who were paid a total sum amounting to £1,241,330, or an average salary of £121 each. In 1914-15 the number of employees in the Department had risen to 21,395, who were paid a total sum of £3,011,958, or an average salary of £140.7 per employee. If we look now to the revenue figures, we shall find that in 1902-3 the earnings of the Department were £2,404,730, or an average of £234 per employee. For 1914-15 the estimated revenue was £4,566,000, and I believe that about that revenue has been realized. This gives an average earning per employee of £213. That is to say, in twelve years we have more than doubled the receipts of the Post and Telegraph Department, but, while we are paying our employees, on the average, nearly £21 per head more, the earnings of the Department per employee are £21 less than they were twelve years ago.

Mr Spence - Next year the salaries will be still higher, because of the awards.

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The PostmasterGene,ral will see that the point of these figures is that we have here a huge business Department which in twelve years has managed to more than double its receipts, and yet, per employee, the business is earning £21 less than it earned twelve years ago, whilst it is paying each employee £21 more. I have not a word to say against the increase in the salaries paid to the employees, and I do not believe that the work of the employees today is less satisfactory than the work we got from the employees of the Department twelve years ago. Giving that in, the figures point most emphatically to the fact that there must be a great lack of business management for the Department to require, in the first place, more than double the number of employees in twelve years to earn only double the amount, while we are paying the employees more to earn less per employee than they earned twelve years ago. If the concern were managed upon business lines, on doubling its earnings it should be able to show that, per employee, it was earning more than before.

Mr Sharpe - Does the honorable member suggest any new scheme?

Mr MASSY-GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - T. believe that we shall never get any satisfaction from the Post and Telegraph Department until its management is placed in the hands of a commission oi thoroughly trained business men.

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