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Friday, 27 September 1912
Friday, 27 September 1912

The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.


Senator RAE.- Is the Minister representing the Postmaster-General in a position yet to' answer the following questions which I asked last month : -

1. Under what regulations are country postoffices permitted to close on Saturday afternoons ?

2. How many post-offices in New South Wales have been closed in accordance with such regulations ?

3. What opportunities were given to those residents who might have raised objections in the public interests to do so?

4. If petitions are presented in favour of such closing, are any steps taken to. prove the bona fidesof those signing same?

5. Will the Minister consider the advisability of substituting, in lieu of petitions for such closing, the necessity of holding properly advertised public meetings of the residents affected in each case before a decision is arrived at?

Senator FINDLEY.- The answers to the questions are as follow : -

1. The matter is not governed by regulation, but by Ministerial instructions.

2. The Deputy Postmaster-General, Sydney, reports that 128 offices (10 official, 28 semiofficial, and go allowance) close on Saturday afternoon, and 148 offices . (16 official, 41 semiofficial, and 91 allowance) close on other days of the week usually observed locally as halfholidays.

3. I am unable to say. The Deputy PostmasterGeneral, Sydney, reports that those offices are not closed until the Postmasters have obtained the concurrence of the local governing body, and that, doubtless, full consideration is given to any objections likely to arise before the local governing body agrees to the closing. The Deputy Postmaster-General adds that in a few exceptional cases where the concurrence of the local governing bodywas withheld, a halfholiday has been granted on the petition of a majority of the interested residents.

4. The Deputy Postmaster-General, Sydney, reports that petitions as a general rule are not presented in favour of closing, but in the few cases where such petitions have been received, inquiry has been made as to the advisableness of granting the request. Thebona fides of such petitioners would only be inquired into in case of a conflict of opinion between the local governing body and the petitioners.

5. It is considered that the present practice meets requirements. Any representations made by local residents receive due consideration.

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