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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2373

(Question No. 5023)


Mr Hodges asked the Minister for Science, upon notice, on 17 February 1987:

(1) What word processing or computer equipment has been introduced into the Minister's Department and statutory authorities responsible to the Minister since 1982.

(2) Why was the equipment purchased and were any specific targets set in terms of time or cost savings and improved efficiencies.

(3) What has been the cost of purchasing the equipment.

(4) Has the introduction of the equipment necessitated the purchase of new office equipment; if so, what have been the costs of the additional purchases.

(5) Has the introduction of the equipment led to changes in work practices; if so, what has been the nature of the changes.

(6) What has been the incidence of repetition strain injury (RSI) in the Minister's Department since 1982.

(7) How many lost working days have been caused by RSI related illnesses since 1982.

(8) How many persons have been forced to retire from the Minister's Department or statutory authorities responsible to the Minister as a result of RSI and what have been the compensation costs of this early retirement.

(9) Has introduction of the equipment (a) saved money and (b) improved efficiency in the Minister's Department or the statutory authorities responsible to the Minister.


Mr Barry Jones —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Since 1982 the following word processing and computing equipment has been introduced into the Department and statutory authorities within the Science portfolio:

mainframe computers

mini computers

micro computers

communications controllers

shared word processors

stand alone word processors

peripherals for the above equipment.

(2) The equipment was purchased to improve efficiency by applying office automation to various tasks undertaken within the Department and the statutory authorities. Prior to purchase of equipment no specific targets were set in terms of cost savings or improved efficiencies.

(3) Cost of purchasing equipment from 1982-83 to date is $14,246,459.

(4) Yes, ergonomic furniture at a cost of $272,922.

(5) The introduction of equipment has led to an improvement in office efficiency resulting in timely presentation of work and easier access to improved analytical tools.

(6) Since 1982 there have been 131 cases of RSI reported within the Department.

(7) 10,310 full days and 2,321 part days.

(8) Six persons have been retired on invalidity grounds due to RSI. The compensation costs total $59,892.16, plus $163 per week to one former staff member.

(9) (a) Yes; (b) Yes.