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Thursday, 15 July 1915

Mr SHARPE (Oxley) .- I desire to bring under the notice of the PostmasterGeneral the conditions obtaining at- the- allowance- office at West- End', in my electorate. The- postmistress there- is in receipt of £80 per annum, out- of which- she- has1 to pay 18s. a week as rents She has been ill for some months: and the Department- at first refused to pay either rent or allowance during that period. This is a thickly populated district, and considerable business is* done at this post-office. It is true that' the Postmaster-General has practically agreed to pay the rental during the period of the illness, but he has refused to make any allowance whatever.

Mr Riley - Is the Department using the premises?

Mr SHARPE - Yes. When all deductions are made, the salary, of this woman amounts to only 13s. 1 1/2d. per week, so that, even if it were- paid- for the full period of the sickness, I do not think it could be described as any great generosity. The Department has. to-night been severely criticised, but I think that, when we get- the report of Mr.. McAnderson, we may find some recommendation to increase, the charges* in certain directions, so as- to permit of larger allowances being made. There are, unfortunately, many similar cases throughout the country. I am not altogether surprised-, to learn that the Department is. not. in a position to pay larger salaries- or allowances until some change has been made im regard to the,, charges levied for services it renders. I hope, that the PostmasterGeneral will, in. the near future, consider some reforms- in this- direction. In the particular district to which I have referred the office- should be a fully equipped one, as, indeed, it practically is, with a. Savings. Bank branch- and all arrangements for the usual business of a post-office. There is no arrangement, for the paying of- old-age- pensions, and- it is about time this office was made- a. branch for' that purpose. Under all the circumstances, I hope the Postmaster-General will give serious consideration to the' case I have presented.

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