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Tuesday, 10 September 1985
Page: 385

(Question No. 188)

Senator Messner asked the Minister for Community Services, upon notice, on 28 March 1985:

(1) Is there a shortage of qualified physio, speech and occupational therapists in the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service; if so, is the Minister for Community Services concerned about this shortage.

(2) Is there a high turnover rate of these professionals; if so,

(a) what is the reason for this; and

(b) what steps is the Minister taking to mitigate the effects of this turnover, and to counter this by way of incentives and improvements in salary and conditions, in order to attract more people, for longer periods, into the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service.

Senator Grimes —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) No. There appears to be no significant or abnormal shortage of physiotherapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy staff in the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service, related to the normal approved establishment for such staff. At 31 March 1985 there were 43 physiotherapists, 19 speech therapists and 86 occupational therapists in full time CRS employment across the country. Twelve physiotherapist, 3 speech therapist and 11 occupational therapist positions were vacant.

(2) (a) The turnover rate also appears to be following a normal pattern. All vacant positions are being, or have been advertised, and normal Australian Public Service recruiting procedures are being followed.

(b) Routine recruitment advertising is expected to maintain recruitment at its normal level.