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Tuesday, 28 September 1971
Page: 1523

Mr CALDER (NORTHERN TERRITORY) - I ask the PostmasterGeneral whether he can advise the House of the outcome of discussions between his Department and the Department of Civil Aviation concerning the reported build up of mail at the Darwin post office for delivery to Arnhem Land settlements and missions. Will he give consideration to making arrangements to shift by sea such would-be postal- items as saddles, cartons of beer and suitcases in order to sustain regular delivery of all classes of mail to these outlying parts if suitable arrangements cannot be made to shift them by air?

Sir ALAN HULME (PETRIE, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - Some difficulties have arisen recently in relation to the movement of mail in the Northern Territory, particularly out of Darwin. An arrangement was entered into by the Department of Civil Aviation, Connair Pty Ltd and the Post Office for parcels to be moved by air in the Northern Territory at surface rates. Under the arrangement the Government would pay a substantial subsidy to Connair. This means that the surface rate is lower than the air freight rate and many peope who used to send by air freight are now sending by mail. Articles similar to those mentioned by the honourable member are included in that category. There was a build up of 150 to 200 articles for these areas but it has been possible in the last few days to make arrangements for special aircraft to move this mail. At the moment there is no build up at the Darwin post office. I hope we will be able to undertake operations which will avoid build ups in the future.

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