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Wednesday, 4 May 1994
Page: 268

(Question No. 1238)


Senator Parer asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 17 March 1994:

  With reference to purchase reference 804, which the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) arranged on 30 September 1993 and which was reported in the Gazette on 12 January 1994:

  (1) What services does MBF supply to the ATO under these arrangements.

  (2) How long has the program been in operation.

  (3) What is the total yearly cost of the program.

  (4) Is a similar program offered in other ATO offices.

  (5) Who authorised the program.


Senator Cook —The Assistant Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) MBF provide the following services to the ATO in the Brisbane, Upper Mt Gravatt and Chermside Branch Offices:

  confidential counselling services to employees of the ATO and to members of their immediate family;

  health education and promotion;

  health screening services;

  the establishment, operation and supervision of Fitness and Activity Centres in each branch office, ie Chermside, Brisbane and Upper Mt Gravatt. Membership of the Fitness and Activity Centre is on a self-funding basis;

  staff surveys on desired activities;

  annual information/awareness raising sessions to promote the scheme and its availability.

  (2) The program in Brisbane has been in operation since 1 July 1992.

  (3) The yearly cost of the program in Brisbane is $74,400.

  (4) There are 23 other branches of the Taxation Office besides the three Brisbane branches. All of those 23 branches (with the exception of the most recently opened branch in Wollongong) maintain contracts for employee assistance programs. The programs provide confidential counselling services to employees of the Australian Taxation Office and to members of their immediate family. In general these programs also provide annual information/ awareness raising sessions to promote the scheme and its availability. A small number of those programs also provide health education and promotion services.

  The Wollongong Office is in the process of negotiating a similar contract.

  (5) The program in Brisbane was authorised by the Acting Deputy Commissioner of Taxation, Brisbane, Mr Gerald A Barry. Programs in other branches were approved by their respective Deputy Commissioners at the time the contracts were let.