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Monday, 26 November 1973
Page: 3870

Mr Bennett asked the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to a statement by the Brotherhood of St. Laurence that rising building costs make it difficult to build aged persons accommodation under $10,000 per unit, and claiming a need for an increase in subsidy rates.

(2)   Have grants for new hostels been taken up.

(3)   Has there been a decline in the building rate of aged persons homes.

(4)   What action is he taking in this matter.

Mr Hayden - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   It is assumed that the honourable member is referring to grants made under the Aged Persons Hostels Act. Since this legislation was introduced in September 1972, 31 grants have been approved, totalling $8.6 million. When completed the hostel projects in respect of which these grants have been made will provide accommodation for 1,106 aged people. A number of further applications are at present being processed in various offices of the Department of Social Security. This is in addition to subsidies that have been approved during the same period under the Aged Persons Homes Act for hostel-type accommodation which will house an additional 1028 aged persons.

(3)   No. During 1972-73 grants totalling $22.6 million, for projects to house 4,345 aged persons, were approved under the Aged Persons Homes Act or the Aged Persons Hostels Act. By comparison, in the four months to 31 October 1973 grants totalling $13.3 million, for projects to house 2,200 aged persons, were approved. These figures indicate that the building rate of aged persons homes is rising not falling.

(4)   A review of the existing maximum subsidy limits is one of the matters being considered by a Committee of Inquiry into Aged Persons Housing, set up by the Social Welfare Commission. When the Committee's report has been considered an announcement will be made at an appropriate time.

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