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Monday, 13 October 2008
Page: 5864

Senator Siewert asked the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, upon notice, on 30 July 2008:

(1)   Prior to November 2007, how many people, excluding doctors, volunteered to the department to help with the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER).

(2)   How many people, excluding doctors, completed the single day training course for volunteers for the NTER.

(3)   Were any of these volunteers used in the NTER; if not, why not.

(4)   Were any of these volunteers informed by the department that they would no longer be needed.

Senator Chris Evans (Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) —The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   As of 12 November 2007, 110 people had registered their interest in undertaking volunteer work as part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response. This excludes people volunteering for paid positions.

(2)   Volunteers were then contacted and informed they would be required to undergo police and medical checks as part of the preparation for placement.. 32 people decided to continue in the process and undertook cultural awareness training. Of these 19 passed all checks, including medical and police checks, and were assessed as being suitable for field placement. At the training sessions it was explained that placement in volunteer projects was not guaranteed. It would depend on the availability of suitable projects

(3)   No volunteers were placed due to unresolved logistics, duty of care and other legal issues.

(4)   FAHCSIA is negotiating the referral of these volunteers to the national volunteering program run by Indigenous Community Volunteers (ICV). When these arrangements are finalised volunteers will be invited to contact ICV.