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Tuesday, 4 December 1973
Page: 4180

Mr CORBETT (MARANOA, QUEENSLAND) - My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Is he aware of the serious erosion of communication facilities to areas of inland Queensland? Is he aware that in addition to the 13 airports which will, according to a recent announcement, lose their Trans-Australia Airlines air services in south western Queensland from 31 December another 4 airports, namely, Oakey, Chinchilla,

Miles and Taroom, will not now be serviced by TAA air services from the same date? Is he aware of the great concern held by residents of inland towns and districts generally that the reduction and elimination of services by the Postmaster-General's Department and the airlines is making life in those towns and districts intolerable by comparison with areas more favoured by the Government? If the Prime Minister is aware of these things, will he take steps to prevent this continuing erosion of essential communication services to inland areas and thereby assist in preventing the increasing population drift to the already overcrowded city areas?

Mr WHITLAM - The questions concerning TAA services should, of course, be placed on notice. I am not responsible for such details. The honourable gentleman made nothing but generalised allegations about postal services. The fact is that under my colleague the PostmasterGeneral the technical proficiency of postal services in Australia has been increased and that honourable gentleman very early in his term set up a royal commission to make it possible for all people in the community to suggest how most promptly and fairly postal and telecommunications services could be improved in this country. If the honourable member is showing only a belated interest in this matter that is his own fault. A royal commission has been inquiring into this matter for the last 9 months. The honourable gentleman knows how well the Postmaster-General can deal with any question without notice on this matter.

The general situation in respect of communications in the country by air and telecommunications is that the Australian Government is determined to ensure that the scientific and technical resources of this country are put to the very best advantage possible. I believe that one would concede that not only telecommunications services but also aerial services have improved in the last 12 months.

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