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Thursday, 29 October 1970

Mr HULME (PETRIE, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - When 1 became PostmasterGeneral some 7 years ago and investigated the situation of deferred applications it was obvious that New South Wales had many more and a much greater percentage than any of the other States. Indeed, special action was taken by me to bring about a big reduction in the total number. From memory I believe that at one time, over a period of 2 or 3 years, some 44 per cent of loan moneys available to the Post Office was spent in New South Wales for the purpose of overcoming the problem there. It is to be appreciated by anybody who knows the Sydney area and who knows the type of country, sandstone in particular, that there are substantial problems associated with the cost of putting telephone services underground in that area. Additionally, of course, there has been a tremendous expansion of population in the Sydney area which, again, has contributed to the problem that exists. But it is not to be assumed that while we try to cure a problem in one area a similar problem will not arise in another State. A couple of years ago the demand rate in Western Australia reached as high, over an 8 months period, as 42 per cent. It was therefore necessary for something to be done by the transfer of employees, as had taken place in relation to New South Wales, to Western Australia to keep under control the situation there. I have said in the House before, and I say it again, that I have no intention of allowing every State to become unbalanced merely to try to solve the problems of one State. I will do my best to ensure that by degrees we are able to reduce the total number of deferred applications in each State.

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