The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (26 September 2007).
1. Can the Minister for Education and Children's Services advise whether the Department of Education and Children's Services has brokerage funds for counselling services?
2. What level of funding is available?
3. (a) Which providers have received funding; and
(b) How much has each received?
The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO (Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Road Safety, Minister Assisting the Minister for Multicultural Affairs): The Minister for Education and Children's Services has advised: The meaning and intent of the honourable member's questions are unclear. The Department of Education and Children's Services (DECS) does not have brokerage funds for counselling services in the normal sense of fees or commission paid to an agent or middleperson for sourcing or providing counselling services. If the question refers to counselling services for students, then the department provides counsellors to schools through established staffing allocation methods. There is some scope for schools to purchase more specialised counselling services to assist students with extremely challenging behaviours, but uptake has been limited to date and no brokerage is involved. If the question refers to counselling services for staff, then the department has a contract with ITIM Australia Ltd for the direct provision of a confidential 24 hours a day independent counselling service for staff and their families, where needed. This is not a brokerage service. Schools and preschools may negotiate and pay for additional services as needed. DECS also has Organisational Health Consultants based in Health and Safety Services to provide a range of support, such as mediation, to schools and preschools.