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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2396

(Question No. 5011)

Mr Hodges asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education, upon notice, 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.

Mr Dawkins —The Minister for Education has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1), (2) and (3) A major upgrade to the capability of the computing resource in the Department of Education has been undertaken. The Government decided in 1983 to acquire the necessary resources to permit the more effective operation of the various programmes administered by the Department. This upgrade included the purchase of a mainframe capability and replacement of ageing Wang equipments which had previously provided word processing and data entry facilities. The approximate costings are:

Mainframe and associated peripherals, communications and software-$7m; and

Facilities for the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission, the Commonwealth Schools Commission, the ACT Technical and Further Education and personal computing facilities to support Departmental word processing and administrative support activities-$3m.

(4) and (5) The details sought would require considerable research and staff effort to provide answers suited to the questions raised by the honourable member. Given its commitment to containing public expenditure and sensible use of public resources, the Government is unwilling to authorise the expenditure of the resources that would be required to provide detailed answers necessary to correctly respond to these questions. In general terms, there has been the need to acquire new office equipment to improve ergonomic aspects related to systems use. Once the new systems are fully operational, a review of work practices will be conducted-probably later this calendar year.