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Monday, 23 March 1987
Page: 1119


Senator TATE —Last week Senator Powell asked me a supplementary question concerning termination of funding under the national community health program for the Australian Medical Students Association. The Association wishes to make a submission to the Committee of Inquiry into Medical Education and the Medical Workforce. I undertook to provide further information about funding for AMSA. The Association has received funding at a modest level under the national community health program for a number of years. In 1985-86 AMSA received full year NCHP funding of $12,850. Part way through this financial year the Minister for Health decided to terminate or reduce ongoing funding for a number of organisations, including AMSA, but funding of $5,130 was provided for AMSA early in the year. This is a cut of $7,720 in 1986-87. No funding will be provided for AMSA in 1987-88.

The Minister decided to terminate AMSA's funding on the basis that AMSA was the only student body of a specific health care discipline receiving such funding, and at a time of high competing priorities continued funding could not be justified. This is especially the case because a significant NCHP grant-some $150,000 in 1986-87-is made to the umbrella student body called SICH-that is, Student Initiatives in Community Health-which represents all student health care disciplines, including medical students. SICH, as well as AMSA, is known to be keen to contribute to the inquiry and SICH may decide to give any assistance necessary for a submission to be prepared by AMSA. I also note that AMSA has available to it other sources of revenue, such as AMA grants and advertising revenue, which may also be used for these types of activities.