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Tuesday, 4 September 1906

Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania) . - I rise with considerable diffidence to refer to ia question relating to Queensland. We have just passed an item providing for the construction of the Warracknabeal post office, which was keenly criticised last session, when it was pointed out that the proposal to expend £2,486 upon a postal building in such a town seemed to be excessive. We now find that £3,609 is to be expended in constructing a post office at Cairns.*

Senator Drake - It is a very important town.

Senator CLEMONS - I have been (o Cairns, and unless its population has increased at a most remarkable rate since I visited it some time ago it will have in proportion to its size the most palatial post office in the Commonwealth. I ask the Minister to explain, if he can, why such an enormous sum - a sum which, he will agree is quite out of proportion to the amounts usually voted for postal buildings - is to be spent upon this structure. Apparently the original vote was £2,499.

Senator Keating - The erection of a wooden building was contemplated, but the Cairns Council pointed out that the erection of such a building was not permissible within the area proposed.

Senator CLEMONS - I presume that the £2,499 which I see in the subdivision relating to Queensland as a re-vote was the sum originally proposed to be expended on this post office.

Senator Playford - I believe that the original vote was larger.

Senator CLEMONS - I am merely dealing with this item on the assumption that the total amount to be expended, and which will have to be borne by the Commonwealth per capita, is to be over £3,000. The item is sufficiently large to justify a demand for an explanation.

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