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Friday, 10 May 1985
Page: 1759


Senator FOREMAN —Has the Minister for Community Services seen references this week to the report released by the Western Australian Government or policy directions for the aged to the year 2000? As the report suggests that most elderly people are choosing to live on their own or with their families, does this incline the Government to cease the funding of age pension hostels and nursing homes as they can be helped under the home and community care program?


Senator GRIMES —Yes, I have seen the report released by the Western Australian Government. I can tell the honourable senator that the aged and disabled persons accommodation program, which started last year, is going to continue under a forward planning model. The organisations which are successful in their applications will be given advanced notice before the funds become available so that they can begin planning ahead. For the first time money will be available for upgrading existing facilities and to meet current construction standards and all the other requirements in this area which frequently change under State regulations. We are also providing assistance for the construction of some new facilities directed to particular needs groups such as migrants and Aboriginals and we are increasing the number of self-contained units and hostels as distinct from nursing homes, although nursing homes will obviously still be needed.

With regard to the question of how these are now to be assessed once the home and community care program comes on stream, the Commonwealth-State co-ordinating committees will take into account initiatives and services under the home and community care program when recommending approvals. Of course, when the HAC program people recommend home services they will look at the range of services already provided by local government in the direct delivery of services, the number of places in the community and accommodation sponsored by non-government organisations. There is no reason why the two major needs in the services for the aged and disabled-that is, for accommodation and for help so that they can remain in their own homes-should not go hand in hand. In fact, it is essential that both schemes work in co-operation with each other. For this reason it is terribly important to get co-operation with State, local government and non-government organisations to ensure that we have a full range of services of this type with the ultimate aim of getting away from the concentration on institutional-type accommodation we have had for some years.