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Wednesday, 3 June 1970

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the- Prime Minister, upon notice:

(1)   ls it a fact that officers and employees of the Commonwealth Public Service (a) are prohibited from working in a place or job of their choice, (b) cannot be paid over-award payments as are permitted and granted in private industry, and (c) are forbidden to support their industrial demands by strikes, bans and limitations in the same way as their counterparts in private industry.

(2)   If so, will he take immediate steps to arrest the depressing trends in wage and salary levels in the Commonwealth Public Service by directing the Commonwealth Public Service Board to meet with representatives of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Council of Commonwealth Public Service Organisations and the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations with a view to establishing promptly sound salary levels based upon a full regard to properly established wage relativities, and to the advantages enjoyed by employees in private industry.

Mr Gorton - The Public Service Board has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   (a) No. The Commonwealth Service is a career service and staff are entitled to compete for promotion or transfer to positions of their choice throughout the Service, subject to their satisfying any necessary qualification requirements for particular positions. Staff recruited to the Service are initially placed having regard to available vacancies and, where practicable, their personal preferences.

(b)   While the rates paid under Federal awards of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission are legal minimum rates to which over-award payments can be added, the rates paid in the Commonwealth Service are the actual rates prescribed in Public Service Regulations or in determinations of the Public Service Arbitrator. However, it has been the policy approach of the Public Service Board to determine pay rates for the Commonwealth Service in the light of rates actually paid by other employers for comparable work, including both the award and over-award elements of the rates actually paid. As recently as December 1969 the Board, following representations from the A.C.T.U., granted pay increases for a wide range of tradesmen and associated categories and support staff in the light of rates actually paid by other employers to comparable employees.

(c)   Yes.

(2)   The Public Service Board docs not consider that there are depressing trends in wage and salary levels in the Commonwealth Service. The Board maintains a continuing policy of reviewing rates of pay in the light of all relevant factors, including rates paid by other employers for comparable work. The Board is constantly engaged in a continuing series of negotiations with staff associations on pay rates and conditions of employment for the various staff categories in the Service. For example, in 1968/69 some 232 consent determinations (excluding duplications) were issued by the Public Service Arbitrator to which the Board was a respondent. As noted above, recent negotiations between A.C.T.U. and the Board let to substantial pay increases for tradesmen and associated categories and support staff. Since then, up-to-date rates for postal staff have also been established by arbitration, and pay rates for a large number of technical sub-professional staff have been determined by agreement with the relevant staff associations. Pay rates for most other areas of the Service either have been recently reviewed or are currently the subject of discussions between the Board and the relevant staff associations.

Housing Loans: Repayments (Question No. 560)

Mr WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

In the light of subsequent increases in interest rates, will he bring up "to date the figures which his predecessor gave me on 24 December 1969 (Hansard, page 1919) on interest rates and monthly repayments for housing loans.

Mr Bury - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The following table up-dates the information provided by my predecessor on 24 September 1969 concerning interest rates and monthly repayments for housing loans. The table sets out what art understood to be typical periods for loans from the various institutions, the interest rates charged (or the predominant rates) in 1949 and April 1970 and monthly repayments per $1,000, assuming a credit foncier arrangement (i.e. equal monthly repayments to cover both principal and interest), with interest charged half-yearly. Except for the War Service Homes Division there is a range of interest rates for each group; for example, in April 1970 the range for savings banks was from 6-J-7 per cent. The figures should, therefore, be taken as a guide only.


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