Marriage dates a telephone call away

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 October, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 October, 2000, 12:00am

The sight of couples sleeping outside registry offices so they can book a time to tie the knot on an auspicious date may soon be history thanks to a government initiative.

Instead, couples will simply be able to ring up at any time during the day to arrange a slot.

The Interactive Voice Processing System, to be introduced by the Immigration Department next year, is one of the new services available thanks to mandatory savings made under the Enhanced Productivity Programme.

'The Immigration Department is now in a healthy financial position to fund the installation,' said a government newsletter issued yesterday.

Productivity of marriage registries is also expected to be improved as officials will no longer have to spend time managing the queues of brides and grooms-to-be.

The three-month application period before the wedding date will still apply, but reservations by telephone can be made a further two weeks before this period.

The Treasury said $558 million had been saved for other new services, and that plans to cut 10,000 posts and reduce government spending by five per cent in three years remained on target.