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Wednesday, 5 May 1965

Senator GORTON (VICTORIA) (Minister for Works) - The Minister for Labour and National Service has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator's questions -

1.   Yes. However, I believe that better results can be achieved by winning the interest and voluntary co-operation of employers. Our experience is that through the efforts of the Department and of others interested in the placement of handicapped persons, a rapidly increasing number of employers throughout Australia is appreciating that handicapped people placed in jobs matching their capacities and skills make highly productive and useful employees. As a result employment opportunities for handicapped people are growing.

2.   Yes. 1 am advised that following the Prime Minister's announcement in May 1962, concerning the employment in the Commonwealth Public Service of the physically handicapped, more than 1,200 permanent appointments have been made of persons suffering from a wide range of disabilities who previously would have been rejected for permanency on medical grounds.

Persons appointed as a result of the relaxed medical standards are entitled to retirement benefit under Provident Account conditions.

The physical fitness standards which are applied arc continually being examined in the light of experience and developments in medical knowledge and, wherever possible, are modified to widen the opportunity for physically handicapped persons to receive permanent appointment.

It is to be remembered too, that a number of officers, perhaps some years after appointment, suffer injuries or ill-health, but are continued in employment suitable to their capacity. The precise number of officers of this type is not known but is considered to be substantial.

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