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Tuesday, 4 September 1906

Senator PLAYFORD (South AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - If the honorable senator turns to last year's Estimates he will find a footnote showing that the £2,499 to which he refers represented only a portion of the amount required. I do not agree with his view as to the postal requirements of Cairns. I visited the town not long ago. I then looked at the proposed site, saw the work being done at the post office, noticed the overcrowded condition of the present building, and, having examined the plans, arrived at the conclusion that the increased accommodation proposed would only be slightly in excess of actual requirements. I considered that we ought to spend a larger sum, and suggested that the vote should be £5,000. The honorable senator has not even a remote idea of the great increase of the work at the post office in Cairns. It is a station from which mails are distributed to various parts of the State, and, having carefully considered the whole question, I wrote a minute recommending my colleague, the Minister of Home Affairs, to so increase the proposed vote as to enable accommodation to be provided in excess of that shown in the plans then prepared. I strongly urged upon him the necessity of doing this if the requirements of the future were to be considered. He pointed out that the building was so constructed that additions could be made to it. without considerable expense, and that before enlarging it further it would be better to wait until the demand for space again overtook the accommodation. Cairns is a growing township, and the amount of work done at the post-office there is exceedingly large. Personally, I should like to see £5,000 spent on the new post-office.

Senator Clemons - What is the total amount to be expended ?

Senator PLAYFORD - The actual contract price for the building is £3,609; and unless there are extras that sum will not be exceeded.

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