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Tuesday, 14 September 1971
Page: 1302

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:

What progress has been made in setting up the international arrangement for narcotics control between Australia, New Zealand and the countries of South East Asia.

Mr Chipp (HOTHAM, VICTORIA) (Minister for Customs and Excise) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The honourable gentleman will recall that I mentioned in a reply to a similar question last session that we were experiencing considerable practical difficulties in arranging a meeting of Ministers.

We have experienced similar difficulties in arranging a meeting of officers with a venue which would be convenient to countries within South East Asian region. Because of this we are now looking again at the possibility of holding a meeting in Australia later this year.

In the meantime a meeting of the Narcotics Commission is to be held in Geneva. While Australia is not represented on the Commission it is proposed to send observers with a view to being involved in those matters of particular interest to

Australia. I understand that there is likely to be strong representation at the meeting from countries within South East Asia. Discussions at the meeting will no doubt point to what action might best be taken collectively by countries in the region to combat the drug problem.

Overseas Investment in Australia (Question No. 3233)

Mr Hayden (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

(1)   Did his predecessor, in a speech to the nation in late January 1971 assert the need for the introduction of restrictions on non-dwelling construction investment by overseas organisations.

(2)   Is it a fact that this proposal was not referred lo the Treasury before that announcement was made.

(3)   Would this proposal have been difficult for the administration to enforce.

(4)   Was the proposal, in any case, of doubtful economic benefit.

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

(1)   In the speech referred to, my predecessor said that demand pressures of new non-dwelling building construction needed to be reduced and that the Government would prefer overseas investors who were considering financing nondwelling construction not to do so until they had first discussed their plans and the dates on which they proposed to begin construction with the Treasury.

(2)   It is not the policy of this Government to give information on matters which concern advice to Ministers and arrangements between Ministers and their advisers.

(3)   See (1). There was no question of enforcement. Attention is also invited to a statement issued by my predecessor on 5th March 1971.

(4)   I have nothing to add to what has already been said about the level of expenditure in nondwelling construction. In his recent Budget Speech the Treasurer said 'there has also been end still is an over-strong pressure of demand in some sectors, the effects of which spill over into other areas. Over the past couple of years expenditure has been running very high in nonresidential construction'.

Immigration: Social Workers (Question No. 34S7)

Mr Hayden asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:

(1)   At which centres have social workers been appointed under the arrangement introduced by this Department to provide social worker assistance for migrants

(2)   When were the initial appointments made and how many replacements have been made in each case because of resignations.

(3)   What is the (a) estimated migrant population in (i) urban and (ii) non-urban areas in each State and (b) ratio of these social workers to the migrant population in each case.

Dr Forbes - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) In addition to the direct service which my Department provides for the migrant community through its own social workers and in other ways, funds are provided also under a grant scheme for the employment of social workers by community welfare agencies which are engaged in direct welfare amongst migrants.


When the scheme was introduced in July 1968, it provided for a total of 32 brants. 33 agencies have been approved to receive a grant, two of the agencies employing social workers on a halftime basis only. In July 1971 the number of grants was increased by six to a total of 38. The allocation of these additional grants is now being considered. Currently twenty-eight social workers (including the two employed part-time) are employed under the scheme.

The following list shows the agencies approved to receive grants under the scheme, the dates when initial appointments were made and information concerning replacements.


Separately the Department has an establishment for 19 social workers, of which 17 positions are filled. These positions, with the exception of one based in Canberra and one in Wollongong, are in State capital city offices of the Department.

(3)   In the context of the information sought, Census data differentiates only between metropolitan/urban and rural areas. The number of overseas born in the population in these two categories at the time of the 1966 Census were:

The social workers appointed under the grant scheme are situated in metropolitan and urban areas only.

Applying the current social worker establishment approved under the scheme to the 1966 census figures, the ratio of grant scheme social workers to the overseas born population in metropolitan and urban areas was:


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