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Wednesday, 30 November 1983
Page: 3034


Senator CROWLEY(4.45) —by leave-I move:

That the Senate take note of the papers.

I want to make a few comments about the annual report of the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations. I have not adequately gone through the descriptions of all the matters to which this Department addresses itself. However, from the brief reading I have given the report, it seems to provide an extensive description not only of the many things that have taken place in the Department but also of the considerable changes that have been made in the Department's structure over the 12 months to the end of the year 1982-83. Some of the descriptions pertain to time under the previous Government and some to that under the current Government. There were considerable changes when the Australian Labor Party Government took office. The Office of Youth Affairs was transferred to the Department of Education and Youth Affairs in March of this year. On 1 July 1983 the Melbourne Industrial Relations Unit took a new title to coincide with the re-establishment of the Arbitration Inspectorate Division within the Department on that date. There are other references to changes and different emphases of programs within the Department. In particular, much time and effort have been put into the establishment of the community employment program which was introduced into legislation on 19 May this year and was operating under the Community Employment Act which was proclaimed on 23 June this year. That program will be reviewed prior to 30 June 1986.

I was pleased to read, in particular, that the Department has an evaluation of employment generation programs for both the wage pause program and the community employment program. The Commonwealth and State Ministers agreed that the Bureau of Labour Market Research should conduct a full evaluation in consultation with the States. I think this is particularly to be applauded. Quite often thorough evaluation is missing from the introduction of programs. This cannot lead to the most efficient or effective outcome. The evaluation is regarded as integral in assessing the performance of programs and providing a basis for further program and policy development. Further, it is hoped that the evaluations by the Bureau of Labour Market Research will encompass both the objectives of the programs and the broader effect of what happens to people who have the opportunity of participating in subsequent employment experience. Its evaluation looks not only at the effectiveness of the program but also at the outcome for people who have been able to participate in that program.

I was particularly interested to look at the work of the Women's Bureau. I found it has a particular function to research and develop policies on women's employment, including equal opportunity of employment for women, and to provide advice on these matters to the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations. I was pleased to notice further that it has the aim, if not the established brief, to increase community awareness of labour market issues, particularly by publication and dissemination of information and the presentation of employment, educational programs, seminars, workshops et cetera. In fact, it has a twofold brief. One is to provide the information and research within the Department; the other is the important one of extending that information to the people in the community who need to know not only what the Department is doing in providing information to the Minister, but also what is available to people in the community, particularly to women.

During the year the Women's Bureau produced two video tapes, Women in Engineering and Technically Speaking. Technically Speaking is a set of two complementary video tapes, one aimed at young women and girls in schools to encourage them to consider looking at other than standard or traditional employment prospects for themselves, the other designed to inform parents and career advisers about other than the usual areas of employment for young women. Those tapes are now available. Anybody in the community can apply for those tapes and use them for parent education nights and information sessions for people in the community, particularly for young women. In addressing the needs of young women, it is also very important that those people in our society who shape attitudes need to be informed of those possible changes.


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! The honourable senator's time has expired.