Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 11 October 1984
Page: 1647

Senator COLLARD —My question is directed to the Minister for Social Security. I refer to the establishment of an office of aged care which was an election commitment at the last election of the Australian Labor Party and of the Liberal Party of Australia and The National Party of Australia. Given yesterday's report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Expenditure, which called for the Government to honour its election promise, when will the office be established and in which Department will it be placed?

Senator GRIMES —The Government still has a policy of establishing an office of aged care. The present situation, whereby there is divided responsibility between the Department of Social Security, for instance, in nursing homes, that Department providing the capital funding for nursing homes, and the Department of Health, which provides the initial approvals in principle and the recurrent funding in these areas, is not a very satisfactory situation for the administration of this area, and it is not very satisfactory for future policy development.

Of course, aged persons accommodation in this country and services for aged people through the various States Grants (Home Care) Act, et cetera, provide services not only for the aged but also for younger people who are disabled. Similarly, there is a need for a development of services across the whole community for those who are disadvantaged, for the disabled, and for those who need assistance in this way, and the development of those services should be performed in a co-ordinated way.

Therefore, the question arises not just that there be an office of aged care-we intend to establish an office of aged care-but also what are the best administrative arrangements for considering aged care, child care pehaps, care for the disabled, and all the other services. In the 18 months that this Government has been in power we have been carefully looking at the administrative arrangements. We are looking at the repercussions of establishing an office of aged care and where that office should be. There have been other priorities this year, particularly in the areas of the economy but also in other areas, including social security and health in establishing Medicare, et cetera. We still intend to establish an office of aged care. I cannot put an exact day and month on it, but Senator Collard need not be concerned; the administrative arrangements under the new Government when we are elected on 1 December I am sure will reflect a further step down the track in this regard.