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Wednesday, 30 August 1989
Page: 598

Senator POWELL —My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. I preface my question by referring the Minister to a statement which the Prime Minister made last year when he launched the National Agenda for Women. In that statement the Prime Minister said:

A major time-use survey which would provide sound statistical data on women's multiple responsibilities would be carried out.

Although I do acknowledge that a preliminary pilot study of 700 households was carried out in Sydney last year to test the feasibility and methodology required for the major survey, this project appears to have come to a standstill since then. Does the Prime Minister intend to fulfil his promise to the women of Australia, particularly those women whose primary work focuses on the unpaid work force, and carry out this survey? If he does, when will the survey be undertaken? When the results of this survey are known, will the Government take the necessary steps to include the value of women's unpaid work, estimated recently by Melbourne University's Centre for Applied Research on the Future, to be $140 billion annually, for the purposes of calculating gross domestic product?

Senator BUTTON —Senator Powell is right. A trial survey was done in Sydney commencing in June 1987. The results were released in May 1988. Those trial results have been very useful in preparing for a fuller survey. The Prime Minister stands by his promise that a major time use survey will be undertaken and the Australian Bureau of Statistics is preparing its work schedule for 1990-91 to 1992-93-these things are always done substantially in advance-and that work program will include further work on time use.

With regard to the second part of the question, the Australian national accounts are compiled in accordance with recommendations in the United Nations document, a system of national accounts called SNA, which does not include unpaid household work in gross domestic product. The SNA has been developed to facilitate economic comparisons between different countries. It can do so only to the extent that countries follow its recommendations and, in line with this, Australia's national accounts do not include unpaid household work.