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Thursday, 30 June 1949

Mr BLAIN (Northern Territory) . - I draw the attention of the Minister for Information (Mr. Calwell) to the fact that people living in remote districts in many parts of Australia have no option but to send urgent telegrams. For instance, I refer to residents of the Northern Territory who are obliged to use the pedal wireless service which is operated by the Australian Inland Mission. An extra charge is made in respect of all telegrams, handled in that way. In view of the good work that is being done by the Australian Inland Mission residents in those areas would not complain about the extra charge if the revenue derived from that source was used to increase the subsidy paid to that organization. Apart altogether from that consideration, however, it is the duty of the National Government to provide telegraphic services in isolated areas without imposing an additional charge upon the people who live in such localities. At present, the extra cost involved in providing those services is borne by them. In view of the special circumstances I urge the Government to amend its policy in that respect, and to relieve those people of that burden.

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