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Wednesday, 18 May 1960

Mr DAVIDSON - Previously 1 have explained in this House the general position resulting from the movement by the Postal Department into the automatic field in providing telephone services. The case which the honorable member now states to me arises from that movement. I have pointed out that because of the introduction not only of automatic dialling, but also of automatic metering and accounting, it has become necessary to reduce the number of mileage divisions in determining trunk line rates. Prior to this forward movement, there were 22 mileage divisions under which the rates were determined and charged. Last October, these 22 divisions were reduced to eleven, and now they have been reduced to eight. This movement will greatly simplify the operation of the whole automatic system and is an essential part of its development.

We realize that in the alteration of the 22 divisions to eight, cases must have occurred in which rates increased. On the other hand, there must have been a corresponding number of cases where the rates decreased. It will be realized, also, that certain anomalies will develop in some areas which are just on the fringe of the mileage division. I have said before, and I repeat now, that in developing this new system the department is prepared to deal with any anomalies which become apparent. Obviously, there must be some anomalies in such a wide-scale development. The department will investigate them and, where possible, adjust the rates. As a matter of fact, quite a number of adjustments have been made already.

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