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Wednesday, 12 September 1973
Page: 832

Mr FAIRBAIRN (FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Prime Minister whether he recalls saying in his policy speech last November:

Our first help for State programs will be to implement, for all States, the recommendation of the Victorian Decentralisation Committee that 'centres nominated for accelerated development be recognised for telephone charging purposes as extensions of the metropolitan area whereby rentals would be equated and calls between these places and the capital charged as for local calls'.

In our first term of office, a Federal Labor Government will concentrate its own initiatives and endeavours on two areas - Albury-Wodonga and Townsville.

What has happened to this promise? Have not telephone charges been increased rather than decreased in these areas? Was this promise just a political gimmick which can be safely forgotten now that the election is over?

Mr WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Prime Minister) - The Postmaster-General will answer the question.

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is true that it was clearly indicated in the policy speech of the Prime Minister that consideration would be given to telephone charges in growth centres nominated by State governments. I think the only growth centre which has so far been nominated is Albury-Wodonga. Obviously this could not be dealt with in isolation. The overriding consideration in this whole situation is the fact that one of the terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry into the Australian Post Office relates to urban and regional growth centres. Following the receipt of that Commission's report, which is expected about March next year, I have no doubt that the Government will be able to implement ite promise in this field.

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