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Wednesday, 15 September 1971
Page: 1312

Mr HAMER (ISAACS, VICTORIA) - Is the Minister for the Navy aware of considerable dissatisfaction amongst the naval dockyard police over pay? Is it a fact that naval dockyard police recruits most have a lengthy naval career before they are able to join the force? How does their pay compare with that of the Commonwealth police? Will the Minister undertake an early review of their pay rates?

Dr MACKAY (EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - The other day in reply to the honourable member for Gellibrand, I indicated that at present there were problems with regard to the naval dockyard police and their rate of pay. I think that part of this situation is due to a misunderstanding. As honourable members know, the Kerr Committee has been appointed to inquire into the scale of pay for the whole of the Services. The naval dockyard police are fulfilling a very important role in the naval Service. At the constable level, they are equated roughly with a petty officer in the serving forces in the fleet. When they were first aligned under group pay their rate of pay, if I remember correctly, was at about the level of group 7. This rate was in line with the lowest level of pay for a constable in the Commonwealth Police Force.

Subsequently a pay case was heard and as a result Commonwealth Police were granted an increase. Consequent upon this increase, naval dockyard police were raised to group 10, a level which corresponds with the third band in the recommendations of the Kerr Committee, as I said the other day. However, at the time the Kerr Committee was appointed a case was being prepared for a re-examination of the rate of pay for a constable in the dockyard police because of the very factors mentioned by the honourable member such as the fact that they must serve some 8 years with the fleet before they can be appointed as dockyard police and are required to have a large number of skills. It was expected that there would be a realignment as a result of this case but it was never actually presented because of the appointment of the Kerr Committee.

Since that time the rate for constables in the Commonwealth Police has been increased. It is anticipated that, as a result of the recommendations, the Kerr Committee will carry out a job evaluation - it is at present addressing itself to this matter - and will take these factors into account. It is therefore expected that the review requested by the honourable member, and which is actually proceeding at this time, will result, and I hope speedily, in a readjustment of the base rate of pay for naval dockyard constables who, because of the smaller numbers involved, certainly do not have the same opportunities for advancement or promotion as do Fleet personnel. Nevertheless there is an annual increase in their rates of pay and I remind the House, as I did the other day, that they have received an increase in pay due to the new alignments which have been brought about by the Kerr Committee. I might mention that something which applies to them but which does not apply to the Commonwealth Police is the flow-on from the physical and allied trades readjustment which has taken place in the Commonwealth Public Service.

Mr Uren - On a point of order: 1 draw your attention, Mr Speaker, to your request to Ministers to ensure that their replies are short.

Dr MACKAY - 1 have had questions addressed to me from members on both sides of the House and also letters sent to me. Surely this is an important matter.

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