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Thursday, 5 July 1906

Mr PAGE (Maranoa) . - I move -

That, in the opinion of this House, the rates now charged by the Postal Department for the use of Trunk Telephone lines on the condenser system are excessive and should be reduced.

In the course of my tour through the Maranoa electorate during the recess, I found that the users of trunk line telephones generally complained that the rates charged by the Department were excessive, and that, instead of the telephone system being a boon to the residents of that vast electorate, it proved in many cases a curse, because persons often found, after using the telephone to communicate with distant stations, that they had to settle up at the end of the month an enormous bill. In Brisbane I ascertained that the rates charged on the trunk lines in Queensland were assessed on the presumption that services which actually cost only from .£150 to £250 had involved an outlay of .£4,000 or £5,000. In fairness to the users of the trunk telephone lines, which, are worker! on the condenser system, I think that the rates should be reduced considerably below those charged on the lines worked on the metallic circuit system, which is very much more expensive. I had an opportunity of speaking to the Postmaster-General upon this subject a day or two ago, and he led me to hope that the whole matter of telephone charges would be taken into consideration at an early date. He promised that if I would allow the matter to stand over until the toll system of charges was being dealt with, he would give the fullest consideration to my representations. The members of the Government claim that they always give consideration to the needs of the people in the country, and I gratefully acknowledge that they have done their best to remove any causes of complaint. I trust that they will endeavour to cheapen the rates for the use of telephones in outlying districts, so that settlers in the country may be granted facilities equal to those enjoyed by residents in the centres of population.

Debate (on motion by Mr. David Thomson) adjourned.

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