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Friday, 5 April 1946

Mr Rankin (BENDIGO, VICTORIA) n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

1.   Of the 210 officers and 753 other ranks comprising the war establishment of the Australian Army Education Service at the 2nd October, 1945, how many remain at the present time?

2.   Where are they located?

3.   What is the nature of the work they are doing?

4.   Will he furnish the House with (a) the names, (6) the rank and (c) pay of the principal officers of the Army Education Service?

5.   For how much longer is it intended that the Service shall remain in existence?

Mr Forde - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   Present posted strength of Army Education Service is 89 officers and 306 other ranks.

2.   These personnel are serving in Japan, New Guinea, New Britain, Morotai, in each comma nd andmilitary district, in all major hospitals and convalescent depots.

3.   The duties of educationpersonnel include -

(i)   The provision of class instruction in subjects ranging from elementary English and arithmetic to leaving certificate anduniversity' standard.

(ii)   The provision of advice and help to soldiers pursuing studies in any of the 600 correspondence courses provided through Australian Army Education Service.

(iii)   The provision of instruction and facilities for pre-vocational manual training in woodwork, metalwork, &c.

(iv)   The provision of instruction and facilities for craftwork and hobby work in wood, metal, leather, &c.

(v)   The provision of personal advice and lectures on all matters relating to the soldiers' rehabilitation and training for employment in civil life and in subjects of general interest.

(vi)   Arrangement of debates, open forums, discussions and discussion groups based on pamphlets and other material issued by the Australian Army Education Service and such civil authorities as universities, departments of agriculture, forestry, &c.

(vii)   The provision of documentary films, music, and facilities for groups and classes in drama, art and literature.

(viii)   The circulation and administration of reference library facilities and libraries circulating to units.

4.   The Director of. the Australian Army Education Service is Lieutenant-Colonel J. L.J. Wilson and the Assistant Director, Major T. H. Coates. The pay of officers in the Australian Army Education Service is the normal rate for officers of their rank in the Australian Military Forces.

5.   The Army Education Service is continually under review to ensure that personnel are retained only for the maintenance of essential educational services, and the service will be discontinued when the stage of demobilization of the Australian Military Forces has been reached which will render unnecessary the continuation of this branch of the Army.

Office Accomodation in Capital Cities.

Mr Harrison n asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that 350 buildings within a 5-mile radius of the General Post Office, Sydney, areeither wholly or partly occupied by government war-time departments?

2.   Is it a fact that, owing to shortage of office space, returned men wanting such space are exposed to positions in which exorbitant rents are demanded of them ? 3: What action is it proposed to take to vacate premises now occupied by departments whose war-time activities have lessened, so that ex-service personnel may obtain office accommodation in order to rehabilitate themselves in civil life?

Mr Johnson - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   A large number of buildings is occupied by Commonwealth departments, both permanent and war-time, but time will not permit of having a return prepared determining whether the number is 350 or not within a 5-mile radius of the General Post Office, Sydney.

2.   Statements to that effect have appeared in the press, but I am not in a position to confirm them.

3.   This matter is receiving constant attention by a sub-committee of Cabinet, and a special officer, Mr. Westhoven, and staff have been appointed to deal with the matter. They are working full time on this specific question and have already submitted numerous reports to the sub-committee of Cabinet. As, a result of these reports a considerable amount of accommodation for civilian use has been made available.

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