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Wednesday, 19 September 1928

Mr HILL (Echuca) (Minister for Works and Railways) . - I move -

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee Act 1913-21, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work, which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, and on which the committee has duly reported to this House the result of its investigations, namely, the establishment of an automatic telephone exchange at Cairns, Queensland.

The proposal is to erect a building on a site which is Commonwealth property, at the corner of Spence and Abbott streets, Cairns, and install therein an automatic telephone switching system having an initial equipment for 1,000 subscribers' lines and an ultimate capacity of approximately 3,100 subscribers' lines. It is proposed that the initial equipment shall be capable of extension to the' ultimate capacity named, and thus enable requirements iu the proposed automatic exchange area to be met for twenty years after the proposed date of opening. The type of equipment in the existing manual magneto nonmultiple telephone exchange is suitable only for exchanges of a capacity of 500 or 600 lines, which number has already been exceeded at Cairns. To extend an exchange of this kind is uneconomical. In the case of the Cairns telephone exchange, however, the equipment fully occupies the space available in an unsuitable old wooden building, and is in an unsatisfactory condition electrically. It is proposed, therefore, to install modern plant in a new building on portion of the existing site, in order to give efficient service to the existing and prospective subscribers in the area. The estimated immediate cost of the work is: -


It is proposed that the building, which will consist of two floors, shall be of simple design, and built on the latest fireresisting principles. The actual revenue for the year ended the 30th June, 1926, from an average number of 657 subscribers, was £11,230. It is anticipated that at the date of the opening of the new exchange, the 31st December, 1929, there will be 875 subscribers, with an estimated revenue of £.15,457, and that at the end of a further five years - by the 31st December, 1934 - the subscribers will have increased to 1,300, with an estimated revenue of £23,587.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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