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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 15

(Question No. 4429)

Mr Price asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 20 August 1986:

In respect of the recruitment or promotion of officers in his Department (a) is preference given to Australians with English as a second language, (b) are special skills identified as a prerequisite for dealing with the ethnic community; if so, what are they and (c) is special training given to new recruits; if so, what is the subject of training, its duration and cost.

Mr Hurford —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(a) My Department's recruitment/promotion policies ensure that a bank of people with bi-lingual skills is established. This skills bank is enriched by normal studies assistance for officers.

(b) The Department's Access and Equity Plan places emphasis on the possession of cross-cultural communication skills by all public contact staff. Consequently selection criteria are being reviewed progressively to include reference to these skills. In the meantime a national training package specifically for cross cultural communication has been developed and implemented. In addition, where special skills for dealing with ethnic communities are required in specific positions eg. Grant-in-Aid, Social Workers, this is clearly stated in job advertisement and selection criteria.

(c) Recruits are provided with induction/orientation programs. These differ in duration depending on their level at recruitment and/or the size of the region. The average duration would be 3 days. The cost is also variable depending on the level of presenters and participants. The content of the programs covers the broad spectrum of the Department's programs/functions, organisation structure and client base.