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Thursday, 20 May 1965

Senator GORTON - The Minister for Labour and National Service has provided the following answers -

1.   The honorable senator will have noticed from the Treasury Information Bulletin Supplement to which he refers that my Department co-operated wilh the Departments of the Treasury and Immigration and the Bureau of Census and Statistics in a work force projection prepared for the Committee of Economic Inquiry in December 1963. My Department was consulted in the preparation of the revised projections published in the supplement.

2.   The projections were based on material drawn from the censuses of 1954 and 1961. Since no information in respect of personal disabilities was sought in either of these two censuses, no data was available on which to estimate the work force component represented by disabled persons.

3.   No. Far from rendering only routine assistance, the Commonwealth Employment Service has for many years been actively engaged in providing a specialist service to facilitate the employment of handicapped persons. To this end it maintains a close liaison with employers, government departments, voluntary organisations, hospitals, institutions and medical practitioners interested in rehabilitation. In each capital city the Professional Services Office, staffed with vocational guidance officers and specially trained employment officers, provides expert assistance and guidance to the selected employment officers in District Employment Offices who 'have special responsibilities in relation to the employment of handicapped persons.

4.   1 am not in favour of setting up a special register of disabled persons. This would only emphasise the negative aspects of handicaps. The Commonwealth Employment Service adopts the positive altitude of seeking suitable employment in terms of the skills and abilities that a handicapped person possesses, and assesses his employment prospects as an individual rather than- as a member of a group who suffer a particular kind of disability. The service will continue to maintain a keen interest in this extremely important field.

5.   This refers to a matter of Government policy.

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