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Wednesday, 10 November 1976

Mr HUNT (GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Health) - This is a fairly detailed question. I will supply the details to the honourable member later. The Government's decision to terminate the special financial arrangements with the States under which the anti-tuberculosis campaign has been funded throughout Australia since 1948 was based on the fact that the campaign had achieved its aim of bringing tuberculosis in this country under control, in the knowledge that the States have been fully equipped with adequate beds and other facilities under the financial arrangements to enable them to maintain an adequate level of control of tuberculosis as part of their normal public health responsibilities and on the fact that the hospital costs of treating tuberculosis, which had earlier formed a large proportion of the reimbursements to the States under those arrangements, are now being met under the Medibank hospital agreements. A decision as to whether mass X-ray surveys should continue as part of their normal public health responsibilities is properly one for the States to take. We are having discussions with the States. I have written to all the State Ministers concerned. I am still waiting on replies from them. Some of the States have not been happy that we have vacated this field, but I think there is a general acceptance among them that since it is part of the public health programs that a State government normally would undertake it is not a hard decision in the longer term. We will maintain the National Tuberculosis Advisory Councila Commonwealth-State body- which will continue to monitor the incidence of tuberculosis in this country. Discussions are still going on with the States about the responsibilities they will accept.

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