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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 435

Dr Cass asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice, on 29 April 1980:

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

(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 the Department in counter situations and/or in close contact with members of the public.

(4)   Does the 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 the Department does not have interpreting and translating facilities, what arrangements are made for performing these tasks.

Mr Viner -The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(   I ) 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)   Some Aboriginal staff members are bi-lingual or multilingual in Aboriginal languages; some non-Aboriginal staff have some knowledge of one or more Aboriginal languages and officers, especially field staff, are encouraged to learn Aboriginal languages. Because of the nature of the Department's functions, staff do not have extensive contact with members of the public who speak foreign languages.

(4)   and (3) My Department does not have staff engaged full-time on translating or interpreting duties. The translation of material into Aboriginal languages is arranged as required by engaging the services of bi-lingual Aboriginals or linguists.

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