INDUSTRIAL AWARDS TELEPHONE SERVICE
The Hon. J. F. RYAN: My question is directed to the Attorney General, and Minister for Industrial Relations. Is the Minister aware that the phone-in number for award wage information, 131628, is constantly engaged and that New South Wales small businesses are left wondering what wages and conditions their staff should work under? Does the Minister realise that this is preventing New South Wales small businesses from getting on with the job of creating employment in this State? Does the Minister, who prides himself on consultation, realise that his department does not have adequate resources to extend this consultation to small businesses in the State? Will the Minister act now, in spite of his Treasurer's tight purse strings, to seek to employ extra staff in the Department of Industrial Relations to cater for this gaping hole in the service provision?
The Hon. J. W. SHAW: I was advised some time ago of some difficulty with the telephones in relation to that service. I had rather assumed that those problems had been rectified. The question of delays in relation to award inquiries has been longstanding and endemic for all governments. One of the difficulties is that the better the service, the more people seek to use it, and there is a snowball effect in respect of the resources that the department feels obliged to provide. This afternoon I will certainly raise with the department directly the problem alleged by the honourable member.