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Notice given 20 August 2003

*1806  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs—In regard to the Port Hedland Detention Centre:

(1) Given that a large proportion of inmates has attempted suicide at least once, do guards carry knives at all times to cut down detainees who attempt to hang themselves.

(2) How many attempted suicides have there been in Refugee/Asylum seeker detention centres in the past 2 years.

(3) How does this figure compare to the Australian average per head of population.

*1807  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) In relation to the Minister’s press release on 12 February 2003 announcing that private health funds had agreed to phase out gym shoes, tents and golf clubs from the ancillary benefits offered: (a) has the agreement with the Australian Health Insurance Association (AHIA) been secured in writing; if so, can a copy of the agreement be provided; (b) when did the Minister ask the health fund industry to review its products to ensure they funded only items which had a ‘direct health benefit’; (c) when did the industry first report back to the Minister on the review; and (d) when did industry first notify the Minister that it intended to exclude some items from ancillary tables.

(2) Can a copy be provided of: (a) the letter from the private health industry to the Minister referred to on page 133 of the Community Affairs Legislation Committee Hansard of 13 February 2003; and (b) the code that industry was stated to be developing on ancillary benefits.

(3) Has the code referred to in paragraph (2) received relevant adoption or approval and commenced operation; if so, when.

(4) Has the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission objected to the withdrawal of any benefits for so-called ‘lifestyles’ ancillaries; if so, how is the industry resolving this objection.

(5) Can a copy be provided of the schedule for phasing out each ancillary item that was agreed with the AHIA, showing each item that must cease being offered by all health funds and on what dates these cessations must occur.

(6) Can the Minister confirm that since the agreement with the AHIA was made, all private health insurance funds that offered lifestyle ancillaries have withdrawn them; if not, why not.

(7) In relation to the Minister’s estimate that the cost of so-called ‘lifestyle’ ancillary benefits is about $70 million a year, what percentage of this does the Government estimate has been paid for gym shoes, compact discs, tents and golf clubs.

(8) Why has the Government not prohibited funds by law from offering lifestyle ancillary benefits.

(9) In relation to the Minister’s request to the health funds to examine all ancillaries to make sure they have a ‘direct health benefit’, what definition or guidance does the Minister give to health funds to comply with this request.

(10) Are there any products currently offered to Australians by private health insurance funds that the Minister believes do not have a direct health benefit; if so, can a list of these products be provided.

(11) In relation to the benefits listed in paragraph (10): (a) has the Minister requested each of the funds offering them to review them; and (b) when did the Minister make such requests.

*1808  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) Are there any plans to shift the Commonwealth’s current funding and administrative responsibility for Aged Care Assessment Teams; if so; (a) what are these plans; and (b) what is the timeframe for any proposed changes.

(2) Can the Minister confirm whether there are any plans to outsource or contract out the function of Aged Care Assessment Teams on a national or regional basis.

(3) Can the Minister confirm whether there are any plans for the Commonwealth to take full responsibility for funding and administering Aged Care Assessment Teams.