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Tuesday, 16 August 1960

Mr Ward d asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice-

1.   Are rates charged by native owner-drivers of taxis in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea fixed by the Administration?

2.   If so, what are the details?

Mr Hasluck (CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Territories) - The answers to the honorable member's questions arc as follows: -

1.   There are no native owner-drivers of taxis in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

2.   Taxi fares are fixed by price control only for Port Moresby area, for which a Price Order was notified in the Papua and New Guinea Gazette of 31st May, 1956. An investigation at that time revealed no case that would warrant price fixation in other areas and no complaints have since been received.

Mr Ward d asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that native labour recruiters operating in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea have been inducing natives, by various forms of misrepresentation, to accept employment?

2.   What steps are taken by the Administration in an endeavour to prevent these methods being employed by recruiters?

3.   Where evidence of the use of these method) ls obtained, what action is, or could be, taken against the recruiters concerned?

4.   Have there been any instances of offences of this nature being reported in recent years; if so, what are the details?

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

1.   The only case known in recent years is that referred to in answer 4 below.

2.   A person may not engage native workers for employment unless he holds a permit issued by a district officer. Any native assistants employed to solicit other native workers to enter into employment must hold a native assistant's permit. Permits to engage native employees are issued only to persons after the Administration has satisfied itself that they are aware of their responsibilities and intend to comply with the requirements of the Native Labour Ordinance. Persons holding permits are obliged to notify the district officer before engaging employees in his district and supervision is exercised by the district officer. Employment agreements are ineffective unless sanctioned and attested by an Administration officer, who is required to ensure that the terms of the agreement are understood by the employee and especially that he knows the rate of pay, the type of work required of him, and the location of the place of employment.

3.   The Administration can refuse to approve an employment agreement; and it can revoke the permit to engage employees. Possibly a security bond could be forfeited and an offender could be prosecuted for an offends against the Native Labour Ordinance, which provides a penalty of £100 for committing any act of fraud or wilful or grossly careless misrepresentation, intimidation or coercion for the purpose of inducing a native to enter into an employment agreement. If evidence of misrepresentation were obtained after the agreement had been sanctioned, an application could be made to the court for termination of the agreement and for the payment of damages to the employee, in addition to prosecution for the offence as referred to above.

4.   In September, 1959, a Morobe district native employed by a European was believed to have used misrepresentation to induce eight natives at Wau to agree to work for employers at Rabaul. Administration officers prevented the movement of the natives to Lae, where the employment agreements were to have been presented for sanction. The European holder of a permit to engage natives for employment, by whom the native assistant was employed, was warned to exercise greater control of his native assistants and informed that any breaches of the ordinance would result in prosecution. The native assistant's permit was revoked, and he is prevented by the ordinance from securing another permit within two years. He was not prosecuted because in the particular circumstances there was difficulty of proof of the offence.

Mr Ward d asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

1.   What wages are paid by the Administration in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea to native labour employed in the capacities of (a) storeman, (b) fitter and turner, (c) mechanic, (d) electrician and (e) welder?

2.   What is the additional pay if the native acts as foreman in any of these occupations?

3.   What are the normal hours of employment and what wage rate is paid for overtime?

4.   Is there any limit to the amount of overtime which may be worked; if so, what are the particulars?

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

1.   There are three broad fields of employment with the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea open to native peoples. Firstly, provision is made for natives to be appointed to positions in the First, Second and Third Divisions of the Public Service of the Territory, provided they have the qualifications required. Thus a native person may be appointed to a position of storeman, fitter and turner, mechanic, electrical fitter, electrical mechanic, or welder, provided he possesses the qualifications set down for appointment to that position in the Public Service. On appointment to the positions mentioned a native would receive a salary within the following ranges: -

Storeman, £747-£798 per annum.

Fitter and turner, mechanic, electrical fitter, electrical mechanic, and welder, £875-£926 per annum.

These salaries are the same " basic " or " regulation " salary rates as are paid to European officers occupying the same positions. In addition to these rates a native officer would, as in the case of a European officer, receive a basic wage adjustment of £102 per annum. A native officer would not, however, receive the expatriate allowance payable to European officers. Secondly, a native person who is not qualified for appointment to the First, Second or Third Divisions of the Public Service may be appointed to an office in the Auxiliary Division of the Service. This division is essentially a training division for native officers with the primary purpose of bringing the indigenous peoples of the Territory through training and study to the stage where they may obtain educational qualifications and trade skills which will make them eligible for appointment to the Third Division. Within the Auxiliary Division there are four broad categories of positions available and these are currently classified at the following rates: -

Assistant(lower technical), £200-£570.

Assistant (higher technical), £200-£665.

Assistant (clerical), £200-£635.

Assistant (teaching), £200-£730.

At ages 21, 22 and 23 years the rates of salary are £420, £435 and £450, respectively. In addition a cost of living allowance of £15 per annum is payable to adult officers with lesser amounts payable to minors and females. The Auxiliary Division is an integral part of the Public Service of the Territory and natives appointed to it are permanent officers of the service. Thirdly, for those natives who are not skilled and have a lower standard of education, employment opportunities are available as Administration servants. Within the Administration servant's wage scale, the following rates of salary are payable: -


Electrician's assistant, blacksmith's assistant and welder's assistant are paid an annual wage in accordance with the scale set out for the fitter and turner's assistant. In addition to the annual cash wage, Administration servants are provided free with food, clothing, accommodation and such other items as cooking utensils, blankets, mosquito nets, &c., for themselves, wives and children.

2.   Natives do not act as foremen in the accepted sense in any of the occupations referred to. If a native does, however, act in a higher grade, provision is made for the payment of a higher duties allowance. If a native person employed in the Third and Second Divisions - all grades - acted in a higher position, he would receive the salary accorded that office and this is the same as that which would be payable to European officers of the Public Service except that the latter receives certain expatriate allowances.

3.   Officers of the Second and Third and Auxiliary Divisions of the Public Service, whether native or European, observe the same hours of duty, namely 36¾ hours per week. Overtime is payable after completion of 38 hours in any one week and this applies to all officers of the Public Service irrespective of race. Administration servants on the other hand are employed under the Native Labour Ordinance, which prescribes the maximum weekly hours of duty at 44 hours per week. In practice, however, it is common for Administration servants to observe the same hours of duty as the European supervisor. Administration servants are paid at overtime rates for all hours of duty in excess of 44 hours per week. The following rates of overtime payments are common to all officers and employees: - For Sunday duty, twice the hourly rate; for holiday duty, the hourly rate; for other duty, one and a half times the hourly rate.

4.   No limit in relation to overtime is set for officers of the Second, Third or Auxiliary Divisions or for Administration servants.

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