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Monday, 23 March 1987
Page: 1184

Senator Walsh —On 25 September 1986 (Hansard, page 841) Senator Morris asked me, as Minister representing the Treasurer, the following question without notice:

I direct my question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Is it correct that the Australian Taxation Office in Sydney is entering into a contract on a trial basis to have some of its data processing work keyed by private contractors? Is it also true that the work could be done for the same cost or less in the Taxation Office itself and that the approximate cost of this scheme, $55,000, will be taken from funds allocated for salaries and wages? If this is true what security arrangements will be undertaken to ensure that the confidentiality of information provided by taxpayers will not be jeopardised?

The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The Australian Taxation Office in Sydney did enter into a contract to have some of its more routine data processing work keyed privately.

The contractor's price was based upon a rate of $19.50 per thousand which is considerably less than the estimated $32.00 per thousand (excluding overheads) it costs the Australian Taxation Office to do the same work.

Funding in 1986-87 is being made from salaries and payments in the nature of salary. No staff have been affected by this decision because the Taxation Office was not able to recruit the necessary staff to do the work.

The contractor and his employees all completed secrecy declarations and are bound by the secrecy provisions of the income tax law in the same way and to the same extent as are people employed by the Commonwealth.


Senator Tate —On 9 December 1986 (Hansard, page 3587) Senator Crowley asked Senator Ryan as Minister representing the Minister for Health, a question without notice concerning a recent survey by the Department of Sport, Recreation and Tourism on `Physical Activity Levels During Winter 1986'. Specifically, she sought comment by the Minister for Health on the disparity of figures across the nation. Senator Crowley also asked that the survey be brought to the attention of the Better Health Commission. The Minister for Health has provided the following information:

The survey undertaken by the Department of Sport, Recreation and Tourism used a random sampling technique in which 3699 Australians aged 14 years and over were questioned about their physical activity over the two week period immediately prior to interview.

The conclusion drawn by the media that Tasmanians were the laziest did not take into account that Tasmania has a colder, wetter winter than other States, particularly Western Australia. Tasmanians could therefore be expected to partake in less outdoor activity during winter.

59% of Tasmanians surveyed did exercise which, allowing for the climatic differences does not differ significantly from the national average of 68%.

A detailed discussion on the results of the survey are contained in an information paper entitled: `5th Survey of Physical Activity Levels of Australians', available from the Department of Sport, Recreation and Tourism.

The term of office of the Better Health Commission has now expired. However, the survey has been referred to Departmental officers responsible for following up the work of the Better Health Commission.