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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 3170

Senator EVERETT (TASMANIA) - I direct a question to the Minister for the Media in relation to the network of publication and inquiry centres throughout Australia. Do the Department of the Media and the Government have plans for an extension of that network? Approximately how many centres are in operation at present throughout the nation? What is the volume of the inquiries those centres have received? Generally, does the Minister regard this initiative of the Government as one which could be said to be successful?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) -The honorable senator will be aware, coming from Hobart, that about 2 months ago I opened a government bookshop and inquiry centre in Hobart. Last Monday I had the privilege of opening another one in Brisbane. All of the capital cities of the States and Canberra have now been equipped with a government bookshop and inquiry centre. I think that some time next week or the week after a bookshop and inquiry centre will be established in Darwin. Thus every capital city in Australia will have been provided with a bookshop and inquiry centre. The sales in the last 12 months of publications from the bookshops alone- apart from the other sales of government publications- have amounted to over $600,000. The inquiry centres are handling people at the rate of, from recollection, 15,000 a month or in round figures about 200,000 a year. Very shortly I will be putting a proposition to my Cabinet colleagues that this service be extended into a number of regional areas. The officers of my Department have been looking at places like Townsville, Ipswich, Newcastle, Wollongong and Launceston to name just a few. Hopefully, when centres have been established in all those localities, the service will be extended to regional areas. Thus the policy of open government that is being pursued by this Government will be more effectively taken to all sections of the Australian people.

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