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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 432

Dr Cass asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 29 April 1980:

(1)   How many persons born overseas (indicating country of birth) are employed by his Department.

(2)   How many of these persons are employed on a (a) temporary and (b) permanent basis and in what classifications are they employed.

(3)   How many bi-lingual and multi-lingual staff members are employed by his Department in counter situations and/or in close contact with members of the public.

(4)   Does his Department have translating facilities; if so, (a) what languages are involved and (b) how many persons are working in the area and what are their classifications.

(5)   If his Department does not have interpreting and translating facilities, what arrangements are made for performing these tasks.

Mr Hunt -The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) Collective statistics on employees' countries of birth are not maintained and I am not prepared to authorise the use of the extensive resources which would be involved in manually extracting the information required from appointment records.

(3)   My Department does not maintain counters for public enquiries in the strict sense. However some of the staff dealing closely with the public are bi-lingual or multi-lingual although full statistics in this regard are not available.

(4)   My Department does not maintain a formal translating service. However a range of minor and straightforward translating tasks are voluntarily undertaken by departmental officers who have nominated themselves as competent in a foreign language. Approximately forty languages are covered in this way.

(5)   More formal, complex translation tasks are either referred to the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs or undertaken by commercial translating services for specialised technical material, under standard Australian Public Service contractual arrangements.

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