Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 1 September 1993
Page: 858

(Question No. 475)


Senator Alston asked the Minister representing the Minister for Employment, Education and Training, upon notice, on 29 July 1993:

  (1) Has a Northern Territory-based Department of Employment, Education and Training staff member received funding under the Training for Aboriginals Program (TAP) training program of around $50,000 to undertake training for a helicopter pilot's licence; if so, is the staff member a full-time officer of the department and is the position substantive; if so, what funding was provided and over what period.

  (2) Was the course successfully completed and does the staff member now, as a result, hold a helicopter pilot's licence; if not, why not.

  (3) What are the eligibility criteria for grants or assistance provided under the TAP program.

  (4) Under what circumstances are persons employed as full-time permanent members of the Commonwealth public service eligible for assistance under the TAP program.


Senator Robert Ray —The Minister for Employment, Education and Training has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) A full-time Department of Employment, Education and Training staff member who was occupying a substantive position in the Tennant Creek Office was placed under the Training for Aboriginals Program (TAP) on 21 April 1992 to undertake helicopter pilot training. The amount was for $34,300 over a period of four months.

  (2) The trainee developed health problems. He has not completed all aspects of the course.

  (3) Under the guidelines applicable to TAP at that time, individuals were eligible to receive assistance under the program if they met the following criteria:

  they were an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person;

  they were registered with the CES as unemployed or seeking other employment or an improved position;

  they were assessed by the CES as likely to benefit from the employment/training opportunity and were able and willing to undertake it.

  (4) Under the guidelines then applicable, TAP assistance was available to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people who were already employed, provided they met the criteria set out above. That included Commonwealth public servants.

   One of the objectives of the Aboriginal Employment Development Policy is to widen the spread of occupations and industries in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are employed, in recognition of the fact that much Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment is in relatively low paid jobs that require low levels of skill. One means of achieving this is through assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to acquire employment of high status and wages and thus provide role models for other members of their communities.

   Nevertheless, I consider it important that there can be no reasonable grounds for concluding that an officer of the Department has been treated more favourably under the program than people who are not officers of the Department but whose circumstances otherwise are similar. The TAP guidelines are currently under review. It is intended that TAP will continue to be available to employed persons who need assistance to progress to more highly skilled employment or to another occupation or industry and who cannot be assisted through other programs or services, including assistance that would normally be provided by the employer. The Australian Public Service Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Recruitment and Career Development Strategy should provide adequate training opportunities for people to advance through the public service. However, TAP may be available for public servants who require it to move to other employment. Henceforth, it is proposed that only Senior Executives may approve the provision of this assistance in cases where officers of the Department apply for TAP assistance other than through the APS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Recruitment and Career Development Strategy.