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Monday, 19 September 1994
Page: 881

Senator CROWLEY —On 31 August, Senator Lees asked me a question without notice regarding ATSIC and health funding. I seek leave to have a further answer incorporated in Hansard.

  Leave granted.

  The answer read as follows—

The Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The Board of Commissioners of ATSIC have responsibility for allocating funding priorities and must ensure that available funds are used as effectively as possible in reducing the level of disadvantage faced by Indigenous Australians. In achieving this objective, the Board must consider other actual and potential sources of funding when allocating ATSIC financial support.

The Board considered the matter of Bulk Billing in November 1992.

The Board determined that as a matter of policy those Aboriginal Health Services receiving bulk billing funding could keep those funds and that the receipt of funds from this source would be used to increase the total level of funding available to redress Aboriginal health problems.

The Board further determined to monitor the situation and requested ATSIC Officers to report back.

In the light of this decision, some Aboriginal Health Services have been asked to provide details of the funds received from bulk billing. This letter canvassed the possibility of ATSIC funding being reduced but no service has had their funding reduced in this way.