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Thursday, 9 May 1985
Page: 1605

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Community Services)(10.08) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows-

I present Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1984-85 in which appropriations totalling $138.5m-additional to those made by Appropriation Act (No. 2) 1984-85-are sought for capital works and services, payments to or for the States and the Northern Territory and for other services. The proposed appropriations are needed to meet essential and unavoidable expenditures for which provision was not made in that Act.

Almost half of the additional appropriations is sought to meet medicare grants to the states; the remainder mostly reflects cost and price increases which have occurred since the time of the Budget and requirements which the Government has considered it appropriate to meet this financial year.

Provision of $62.4m has been made under the Department of Health to meet an upward revision to grants payable to the States and the Northern Territory under formal agreements in respect of the medicare public hospitals arrangements. Almost wholly accounting for this additional requirement is the continuing increase in the number of patients electing to be treated as public rather than private patients under medicare.

Other significant increases are as follows:

$5.4m representing a Commonwealth contribution towards measures to combat the transmission of AIDS. This initiative includes Commonwealth funding of the cost of blood screening tests by the Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service during 1984-85, a national referral centre for blood testing, funding for the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories to produce AIDS screening tests, the establishment of an AIDS task force and funding for a national press, radio and television campaign aimed at informing the public.

$5.5m to be paid to New South Wales and Queensland under the rural adjustment scheme for assistance to the sugar industry.

$6.2m to provide additional funds for housing loan commitments in the Australian Capital Territory.

and $16m to be paid to the Australian National Railways Commission for the implementation of an early retirement scheme. The cost of the scheme is expected to be more than offset by savings in future years flowing from reduced manning levels.

I commend the Bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator Reid) adjourned.