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Wednesday, 30 May 1973
Page: 2923

Dr Forbes asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:

In what way does the new system whereby members of a special team of trained welfare officers and interpreters visit migrants in the home, school and workplace, announced by him as an initiative of his Government, differ from the proposal on the same subject announced by the previous Minister on 31 August 1972.

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

The proposed appointment of 48 multi-lingual welfare officers to provide a welfare and interpreter service to migrants in the community generally and in schools, to which I referred in my statement to the press on 11 March 1973, does not differ from the proposal announced by the previous Minister in his statement to Parliament on 31 August 1972. In my statement on 11 March I said that the Department would be seeking approval (of the Public Service Board) to appoint the officers concerned. The concept of bilingual or multi-lingual welfare officers is not however new. The already existing welfare staff of the Department includes some 65 per cent of persons born overseas or in Australia from ethnic background and withfluency in other languages. The majority of these appointments date from the late 1960s, though the first was made in 1963.

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