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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 4834

Mr Snedden asked the Minister for Housing and Construction, upon notice:

(1)   With reference to the answer to question No. 548 (Hansard, 19 September 1974, page 1621) in which the Prime Minister indicated that the form and frequency of exercises in Government Departments in civil defence preparedness are as determined by individual Departments, on what dates in the last 18 months have exercises of this nature been conducted in his Department.

(2   ) Which officers and employees took part.

(   3 ) How many officers and employees took part.

(4)   What was the purpose of each of the exercises.

(5)   Does he accept that this is an area where the Australian Government can give a lead to other employers.

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The answer to the right honourable member's question is as follows:

New South Wales Region-

(1)   to (4) Nil.

(5)   The Regional Headquarters of the Department in New South Wales located in the Tower Building, Australia Square comes under the control of the Australia Square management's building security services whose stuff arc trained to assist with any evacuations required.

New procedures involving the appointment of fire wardens are presently being prepared by the Region in order to meet any emergency which may occur.

Operational Headquarters, Melbourne-

(1)   to (4) No exercises in Civil Defence preparedness have been carried out at Operational Headquarters. Melbourne, during the past eighteen months.

(5)   In mid-1974 a comprehensive plan was being developed for the appointment in this office of floor wardens, deputies and assistants to cope with sudden emergencies such as fire.

At that time, however, it appeared likely that we would be vacating our present premises and no further action regarding civil defence exercises was taken at that stage.

As a move from our present premises no longer appears imminent, planning regarding the form and nature of evacuation exercises is again being undertaken

Victoria/Tasmania Region- (1)19 March 1974; 22 October 1974.

Queensland Region-

(   1 ) to (4) Details are set out in the following table:

(2)   All employees.

(3)   800.

(4)   The purpose of these exercises was to familiarise and instruct all personnel in the correct procedures to be taken in the case of an emergency. The exercises also tested the emergency evacuation organisation and procedures and the special warning equipment under simulated conditions.

(5)   It is agreed that this area is one in which the Australian Government can give a lead to other employers. The results of these exercises were watched by several outside observers. Requests have since been received for advice on Departmental experience in these matters.

NB- (a) The above figures do not include staff of other Departments located in Australia House or Australian Government Centre.

(b)   Partial evacuations were also carried out in Australia House on 27.9.1973 and 16.10.1973 but did not include staff from this Department

(5)   The total evacuation of Australia House, Brisbane, is normally carried out during fire prevention week in conjunction with the Fire Brigade with the intent that it would set an example to the community generally.

South Australian Region-

(1)   7 November 1973.

(2)   All officers and employees.

(3)   120 personnel.

(4)   The purpose of the exercise was to assess whether fire exits were adequate and whether the proposed evacuation plan was effective before formal introduction. The answer in both cases was affirmative.

(5)   This Department is in a position to take the initiative in the introduction of evacuation procedures and related exercises in office buildings.

Note- The above information is in relation to the South Australian Region and refers only to the Housing Division. Security House, North Terrace, Adelaide. In so far us the Construction sector is concerned no exercises have been undertaken. However, emergency evacuation procedure has been introduced and Block and Floor Wardens, Monitors and Runners have been appointed to each of the four floors occupied in Da Costa Building.

West Australian Region-

(   1 ) Two occasions (dates unknown )

(2)   Not known.

(3)   50 personnel on each occasion.

(4)   The purpose was to assess the operation of emergency evacuation procedures during simulated fire outbreaks.

(   5 ) No Regional comment.

Northern Territory Region-

(1)   to (4) Nil although some planning has been undertaken.

(5)   No Regional comment.

Australian Capital Territory- (1) to (4) Nil.

(5)   The Region is currently formulating a plan which will enable it to render any assistance required by other parties in the event of a civil emergency.

Policy Headquarters, Canberra(1)to (4)Nil

(5)   I refer the right honourable member to the details given in the Prime Minister's answer to Question No. 548 Part 3, published in Hansard of 19 September 1974, page 1621.

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