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Tuesday, 16 August 1960

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

1.   What wages are paid to native plantation labourers in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea?

2.   Where keep is also provided, what are the minimum requirements which must be satisfied by the employer?

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

1.   Conditions of employment, including wage rates, are determined by agreement between the employer and the employee, subject to a prescribed statutory minimum. - The prescribed minimum at present applicable in the case of plantation labourers is a cash wage of 25s. per month, together with the provision of food, clothing, equipment, accommodation and medical services. The wages paid are in many cases above this minimum rate.

2.   The Native Labour Ordinance 1950-56 and Regulations oblige the employer to provide food for the employee and his wife and children if living with him at the plantation. The scale of food required to be supplied is such as will provide a balanced diet with adequate nutrition. At the commencement of employment, clothing, eating utensils, a blanket, a towel and a kit bag must be supplied. Further clothing issues are required at intervals of three months in the case of loin cloths or six months if short trousers are issued. If the place of employment is higher than specified altitudes, woollen shirts and additional blankets must be provided. Minimum standards of accommodation are prescribed, with minimum cooking, ablution and sanitary requirements. Free medical treatment must be provided at the place of employment for the worker and his wife and children living with him and all reasonable precautionary measures to safeguard their health must be taken. Transport to and from the place of employment must also be provided by the employer.

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