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Thursday, 2 December 1965

Mr Fox x asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   What is the balance of the Prisoner-of-war Trust Fund?

2.   What terms and conditions apply to the disposal of the fund?

3.   How much has been paid out of the fund since its inception?

4.   How many persons have received payments from the fund?

5.   When is it proposed to pay out the balance remaining in the fund?

6.   What will happen to any money remaining in the fund after all of the prisoners-of-war have died?

Sir Robert Menzies - The following information has been provided by the Secretary of the Trust in answer to the honorable member's questions -

1.   The present balance including the 1965-66 allocation is £14,388.

2.   The Fund was established in 1952 by an allocation of £250,000 to be administered by Trustees for the purpose of providing financial assistance to former prisoners-of-war suffering distress or hardship referable to the conditions of their captivity or as a result of any material prejudice referable to those conditions. In 1962 a further £47,000 was allocated for this purpose and in 1965 the Government decided to provide £15,000 a year for the following three years to meet continuing needs under the terms of the Trust. On the basis of these allocations, a third contribution will be made for the financial year 1967-68. Whether the Trust will be continued beyond that period is a matter of Government policy. The terms and conditions of the Prisoners-of-War Trust Fund are to be found in the Trust Deed.

3.   Since the inception of the Trust an amount of £329,037 10s. 6d. has been paid out by the Trustees.

4.   There have been over 8,000 applications for assistance from 6,480 pesons, some having applied more than once. Grants made total 4,473, including cases where more than one grant has been made. Statistics are not available as to the number of persons who have received grants. 5 and 6. The Trustees consider applications as they are received and make payments according to the merits of the individual case. At the end of the financial year 1967-68 it will be a matter of Government policy as to whether any further allocation is to be made and whether the Trust will then be closed off, or whether the Trustees will continue to make grants until such money, if any, as is then unexpended, will have been spent.

I should like to make it clear to the honorable member that these funds are provided by the Government through a special allocation and are not to be confused with funds arising from the sale of Japanese assets in Australia which have been disposed of in an entirely different way.

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