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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 4824

Mr Snedden asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

(   1 ) Which departments or authorities have responsibility for consumer protection.

(2)   What are these responsibilities.

(3)   Which sections of which departments or authorities are involved.

(4)   How many officers in each department or authority arc involved.

(5   ) What is the total number of officers or employees in all Government departments or authorities concerned with consumer protection activities.

Mr Whitlam - The answer to the right honourable member's question is as follows:

(   1 ) to (5) This Government is more conscious than any of its predecessors of the need for consumer protection and of the government's responsibilities in this area. Our trade practices legislation illustrates the way in which Australia tit last has a government which takes its responsibilities in this area seriously.

The prime statutory responsibility for consumer protection rests on the Trade Practices Tribunal under the Trade Practices Act 1974 which is administered by the AttorneyGeneral.

The development of consumer protection policies, laws, procedures and controls is a complex and continuously evolving matter. In addition to the Trade Practices administration, many authorities of the Australian Government and their staffs are involved in one way or another. These include the following departments and authorities:

Department of Science

Department of Health

Department of Customs and Excise

Department of Housing and Construction

Department of Manufacturing Industry

Department of Agriculture

Department of Transport

Department of Overseas Trade

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Department of the Capital Territory

Department of the Northern Territory Industries Assistance Commission Prices Justification Tribunal

Consequently it is not practicable to attempt a compilation of a set of numbers to satisfy quantitatively the various parts of the question.

Public Service Board: Appointments on Contract Basis (Question No. 1690)

Mr Snedden asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

(   1 ) How many persons have been appointed to the Public Service Board on a contract basis in each of the last 3 years.

(2)   Who are they.

(   3 ) What was their previous employment.

(4)   What are the terms and conditions of their employment.

(3)   Has the Public Service Board issued instructions to other departments advising of the methods to be adopted in employing people on contract.

(6)   Do departments keep statistics of the numbers employed on the contract basis.

(7)   If so, what are the details.

Mr Whitlam - The Public Service Board has supplied the following information for answer to the right honourable member's question:

(1)   None.

(2)   to (4) See (1).

(   5 ) to ( 7 ) The Public Service Board has not issued instructions advising the methods to be adopted in employing people on contracts, and departments are not required to maintain statistics of the numbers so employed. Following a recent instruction by me, however, departments are required to obtain the approval of the Board before contract staff are employed.

I also draw the right honourable member's attention to pages 82-83 of the Board's 1974 Annual Report where reference is made to the arrangements used by departments to secure the services of individuals on a non-career basis to perform tasks of an isolated short-term nature where special expertise, competence and skill are required. These references are part of a regular item entitled 'Short-term Engagements and Release of Staff' and examples are also listed.

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