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Wednesday, 5 November 1913

Senator McCOLL - On the 1st October Senator Maughan asked some questions with regard to wages and camp allowance in Queensland. A request was made for a reply immediately, but the reply only came to hand to-day. The questions were as follow : -

I desire to ask the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, whether he is aware -

1.   That there are certain men in Queens land who were receiving9s. per day, and who were reduced to 8s. per day, who have not received the higher rate as promised.

2.   That blacksmiths are employed at the rate of9s. per day, whilst the ruling rate for such labour in Brisbane is11s. per day.

3.   That in certain country camps in Queens land men are paid 8s. 6d. per day and no camp allowance, while in other camps they are paid 8s. per day and £1 per month camp allowance.

Will the Minister be good enough to make inquiries into this matter, and report to the Senate ?

The following is the reply which I received from the Department -

With reference to your memorandum of the 2nd instant, with which you forwarded an extract from Hansard of the1st idem, containing three questions by Senator Maughan regarding the wages, i.e., paid to certain employés of this Department in Queensland, I beg to inform you that inquiry has been made, and in connexion with the first question the Deputy Postmaster-General, Brisbane, states that the decision to pay9s. per day was received too late for action on the September end-month pay day, but it was arranged to pay the arrears early in October, and on the 3rd of that month paying officers were paying wages at the old rate.

2.   With regard to question 2 the Deputy Postmaster General states that only two men are employed by this Department in Queensland on blacksmiths' work, and, although they cannot be said to be qualified blacksmiths, they are capable of performing any class of work required of them by the Department. They receive 9s. per day ; but as their work is reported to be worth1s. per day more than that of temporary linemen, a recommendation is being submitted in the usual course that they be paid at the rate of 10s. per day, which is equivalent to the minimum salary payable to Blacksmith, Grade 3, viz.,£156 per annum.

3.   The recommendation referred to in paragraph 2 has now been approved of by the Commonwealth Public Service Commissioner, and the Deputy Postmaster-General has been informed.

4.   The Commonwealth Public Service Commissioner, to whom question 3 was referred, advises that where temporary or exempt linemen are paid a daily rate equal to the minimum salary of£132 per annum, paid to permanent linemen, and are required to live in camp, they should be placed on the same footing as permanent officers in regard to camp allowance. Instructions have been issued accordingly.

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