DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS WEB SITE
The Hon. J. R. JOHNSON:
My question without notice is to the Attorney General, and Minister for Industrial Relations. Will the Minister inform the House as to how the Department of Industrial Relations [DIR] web site is assisting the department to streamline its information delivery?
The Hon. J. W. SHAW:
The number of applications, or hits, to the Department of Industrial Relations’ web site is continuing to increase. Access to the DIR home page is at the highest level ever, with an average of 2,700 visitors each week. More than 100,000 visitors have accessed the DIR home page since its launch in March 1996. The most popular page on the web site is the award wage index, which provides access to wage rates for the most popular New South Wales awards plus links to full award text. The Clerical and Administrative Employees Award and the Shop Employees Award are particularly popular. They are obviously very general and widely applicable common rule awards in the industrial relations system. Hundreds of people access award wage rate information each week.
Access to the award wage index continues to increase with an average of 1,800 user requests for the page per week. The wage rate index page was averaging 600 hits per week 12 months ago. This means that an ever-increasing number of people are accessing New South Wales wage rates and award information on the Internet. People can access current award wage rates and full award text whenever it suits them, 24 hours at day, seven days a week, regardless of their geographical location. This frees up award inquiry officers to deal with more complex issues over the telephone and provides a more value-added service to DIR’s broad customer base. The full text of all DIR publications is also available on the web site as well as access to information about its services. Visitors to the site are able to purchase publications by downloading forms available on the web site. Registration forms for networks and workshops are also available.
The department is also supplying a more complete service by providing links to relevant industrial organisations and related government services. This recognises that users are generally pleased to have a one-stop shop for service through a single access point. New services planned for the DIR web site include interactive award inquiry forms, improved search facilities and frequently asked questions on a broad range of topics. The DIR is working to increase awareness of its web site and the services it provides to maximise its value to New South Wales employers and employees. Certainly the department has come a long way from the days when it was regarded as a sleepy and ineffectual unit of government.