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Wednesday, 16 February 1977

Mr HOWARD (Bennelong) (Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs) - I would like very quickly to respond to the remarks of the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman) who raised the question of the adequacy of the staff of the Customs Bureau to deal with the documentation concerning imports into Australia. The honourable member was not very specific and it is therefore difficult for me to respond in precise terms but I will have his remarks analysed and respond to him by letter as soon as possible. I would make 3 observations. Firstly, I assure the honourable member and the House that the application of staff ceilings has fallen no more heavily on any particular part of the Public Service than it has on any other part. Insofar as the sections in my own Department and the statutory authorities within my own administration are concerned, there has been no design to single out any section for unfair treatment. I believe that the job of the staff in the Customs Bureau in this area is difficult. I believe the staff members perform their functions in an extremely capable manner. I appreciate the spirit in which the honourable member raised this matter. Naturally the Government would be concerned if the type of matters to which the honourable member referred were occurring. I will certainly have a look at the matter and respond to him in greater detail.

Mr SPEAKER -The debate having concluded, the House stands adjourned until 10.30 a.m. tomorrow.

House adjourned at 11.2 p.m.

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