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Tuesday, 21 August 1984
Page: 80

(Question No. 912)

Senator Maguire asked the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 30 May 1984.

(1) Do specific Acts of Parliament provide for all expenditure programs carried out by the Department of Social Security.

(2) Which areas of expenditure by the Department of Social Security are not provided for under a specific Act of Parliament.

(3) Are funds allocated for women's shelters by the Department of Social Security provided for in a specific Act of Parliament.

(4) Is it the intention of the government to prepare a Shelter Act to provide for women's shelters; if not, what factors led the Government to this conclusion .

Senator Grimes —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) No.

(2) The areas of expenditure under programs administered by the Department of Social Security which are not provided for under a specific Act of Parliament are-

(a) the children's services program (to the extent that the program is not covered by the Child Care Act 1972);

(b) the aged persons program (to the extent that the program is not covered by the Aged or Disabled Persons Homes Act 1954);

(c) grants towards the publication of book equivalent materials for use by print handicapped;

(d) grants to the Northern Territory for home care services (grants to the States are covered by the States Grants (Home Care) Act 1969) and;

(e) national women's emergency services program.

The appropriation legislation also provides for various grants-in-aid to assist organisations in the welfare area.

(3) A small number of women's shelters are funded under the Homeless Persons Assistance Act 1974. Funds provided under the women's emergency services program are not supported by an Act of Parliament.

(4) The Commonwealth Government is considering the possibility of establishing a new supported accommodation assistance program to be cost shared with and administered by the States and the Northern Territory. If agreed to this program would be supported by legislation and would include the present national women's emergency services program and sections of other programs administered by my Department which assist women's shelters. In the event that a supported accommodation assistance program is not established, supporting legislation for WESP would be necessary if WESP grants to the States were made subject to legally enforceable terms and conditions. If, however, funds were to be distributed merely on the basis of an understanding with the States, legislation other than that now contained in Appropriation Act (No. 2) 1983-84 (Division 949 .07) would not be required.