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Thursday, 5 December 1974

* Bills since formally accepted as twice failed to pass for purposesSeclions57and 128 of the Constitution.

Other Bills Rejected, Laid Aside or Deferred by Senate

Seas and Submerged Lands Bill 1973 -Deferred 30 May 1973, lapsed on prorogation ( Bill [No. 2] passed 27 November 1973 with mining code deleted).

Seas and Submerged Lands (Royalties on Minerals) Bill 1973 -Deferred 30 May 1973, lapsed on prorogation (Bill [No. 2] referred to below)

Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Bill 1973 -Deferred 5 June and 1 1 December 1973, lapsed on prorogation

Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1973 -Second reading negatived 6 June 1 973

Trade Practices Bill 1973 -Bill introduced in Senate, deferred 24 October 1973. lapsed on prorogation

Lands Acquisition (Australian Capital Territory) Bill 1973 -Second reading negatived 6 November 1973

Seas and Submerged Lands (Royalties on Minerals) Bill 1973 [No. 2] -Second reading negatived 27 November 1973

Australian Industry Development Corporation Bill 1973

National Investment Fund Bill 1973 -Referred 28 November 1973 to Select Committee, lapsed on prorogation, restored on 13 March and referred back to committee 19 March 1974, lapsed on double dissolution.

Trade Practices Bill 1 973 [No. 2] -Deferred 6 December 1973, lapsed on prorogation, restored on 14 March 1974 and debate adjourned 3 April 1974, lapsed on double dissolution

Constitution Alteration (Inter-change of Powers) Bill 1974 -Deferred 19 March 1974, lapsed on double dissolution

Superior Court of Australia Bill 1974 -Second reading negatived 2 April 1 974

Note

The following Bills, initially deferred by the Senate, are included in the statistics as Bills passed both Houses:

Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Bill (No. 2) 1973 -Deferred 22 November 1973, restored on 5 December 1973 and subsequently passed

Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 1973-1974

Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1973-1974

Appropriation Bill (No. 5) 1973-1974 -Deferred 10 April 1974, subsequently passed same day following announcement of double dissolution.

Appendix 3 28th PARLIAMENT 1973-74

GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION PROGRAM

Other Bills Introduced, and Lapsed on Prorogation or Double Dissolution

In the House of Representatives

Introduced in the House

Australia Council Bill 1974

Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1974

Financial Corporations Bill 1974

Income Tax Assessment Bill 1974

Income Tax (Dividends and Interest Withholding Tax) Bill 1974

Northern Territory (Stabilization of Land Prices) Bill 1974

Privy Council Appeals Abolition Bill 1 973

Privy Council (Appeals from High Court) Bill 1 973

States Grants (Urban Public Transport) Bill 1974

Urban Public Transport (Research and Planning) Bill 1974

In the Senate

Received from the House of Representatives

Australian Industry Development Corporation Bill 1973 [1974] [No. 2]

National Investment Fund Bill 1973 [1974] [No. 2]

Australian Development Assistance Agency Bill 1 974

Australian Tourist Commission Bill 1 974

Commonwealth Banks Bill 1 974

International Monetary Agreements Bill 1974

River Murray Waters Bill 1974

Wool Industry Bill 1974

Introduced in the Senate

Arbitration ( Foreign Awards and Agreements ) Bill 1974

Family Law Bill 1974

Human Rights Bill 1973

Racial Discrimination Bill 1974

Note: List does not include Bills deferred by Senate and subsequently lapsed as these are included in Appendix 2.

Appendix 4A 28th PARLIAMENT 1973-74

GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION PROGRAM

Bills Amended by Senate (not by Government Initiative)

Australian Capital Territory Evidence (Temporary Provisions) Bill 1973

Pipeline Authority Bill 1973

Cities Commission Bill 1973

*Australian National Airlines Bill 1973

States Grants (Advanced Education ) Bill 1 973

States Grants ( Universities) Bill 1973

*Australian Citizenship Bill 1973

*Australian Capital Territory Representation (House of Representatives) Bill 1973

Public Works Committee Bill 1 973

States Grants (Petroleum Products) Bill 1973

Meat Export Charge Bill 1 973

Meat Export Charge Collection Bill 1973

Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1973 (No. 2 )

*Schools Commission Bill 1973

*Seas and Submerged Lands Bill 1973 [No. 2]

*Industries Assistance Commission Bill 1973

*States Grants (Schools) Bill 1 973

Law Reform Commission Bill 1973

*Fisheries Bill 1973

*Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Bill 1 973

Hospitals and Health Services Commission Bill 1 973

Note- Amendments to 10 Bills marked * were accepted with some reluctance by the Government. (Amendments to the other Bills were accepted without division in the Senate and accepted in the House; or were not insisted upon by the Senate).

Nature of amendments and action taken are outlined in Appendix 4b.

Appendix4H 28th PARLIAMENT 1973-74

GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION PROGRAM

Action on Bills Amended by Senate

Australian Capital Territory Evidence (Temporary Provisions) Bill 1973 -Bill, introduced in the Senate, amended on 29 March 1973 to delete the proposed limitation on term of operation; passed by the House on 29 March.

Pipeline Authority Bill 1 973 -Four amendments on 24 May 1 973 one requiring works costing more than$2m to be referred to the Public Works Committee: disagreed to by the House on 3 1 May and not insisted upon by the Senate on 3 1 May; one deeming the Authority to be a common carrier: disagreed to by the House on 3 1 May and not insisted upon by the Senate on 3 1 May; one requiring that a warrant be obtained before entry upon land where it has not been practicable to notify the occupier, further amended by the House on 3 1 May to provide that the warrant be issued by a Justice of the Peace rather than by a Magistrate; agreed to by the Senate on 3 1 May; one requiring 30 days rather than seven days notice before occupying land; agreed to by the House on 3 1 May.

Cities Commission Bill 1973 -amendments on 30 May 1973 to change the title of the Commission to Cities and Regional Development Commission; disagreed to by the House on 31 May, and not insisted upon by the Senate on 3 1 May.

Australian National Airlines Bill 1973 -amended on 1 June 1973 to require that the Australian National Airlines Commission transfer moneys provided for staff superannuation to the Commonwealth Superannuation Board; agreed to by the House on 2 1 August.

States Grants (Advanced Education) Bill 1973 -amended on 5 June 1 973 to require that the States report annually to the Australian Universities Commission on the expenditure of money granted to them; agreed to by the House on 2 1 August.

States Grants ( Universities) Bill 1 973 -amended on 5 June 1973 to require that the States report annually to the Australian Universities Commission on the expenditure of money granted to them; agreed to by the House on 2 1 August.

Australian Citizenship Bill 1973 -amended on5 June 1973 to substitute alternative oaths and affirmations including provisions for 'renouncing all other allegiance'; alternative amendment proposed by the House on 23 August providing new oaths and affirmations omitting the requirement of renouncing other allegiance; insisted upon by the Senate on 1 1 September and agreed to by the House on 1 2 September.

Australian Capital Territory Representation (House of Representatives) Bill 1973 -amended on 7 June 1973 to permit a margin of allowance of 1 fifth in lieu of 1 tenth; agreed to by the House on 1 1 October.

Public Works Committee Bill 1973 -Bill introduced in the Senate, amended on 30 August 1973 to require the Public Works Committee to examine all capital works in excess of $2m undertaken by Statutory Authorities; amended by the House on 25 October to restore it to its original text but the Government gave an undertaking that independent examination would be undertaken in an attempt to draw up a more rational method of selecting works to be deferred to the Committee; agreed to by the Senate on 13 November.

States Grants (Petroleum Products) Bill 1 973 -amended on 10 October, 1973 to require future amendments of the schedule of subsidy rates to be notified to the Parliament in the form of regulations; agreed to by the House on 1 1 October.

Meat Export Charge Bill 1973 -amendment requested on 10 October 1973 to reduce the rate of charge on beef and veal from 1.6c to lc; not made by House on 6 November; not pressed by the Senate on 7 November.

Meat Export Charge Collection Bill 1 973 -amended on 10 October 1973 to establish a Meat Export Charge Trust Account; disagreed to by the House on 6 November, but similar amendments proposed in lieu; the Senate did not insist upon the original amendments and agreed to the House amendments on 7 November.

Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1 973 ( No. 2 ) -extensively amended on 16 October to 6 November 1973 including rejection of proposals to facilitate union amalgamations, to require a Commissioner to ensure that employees bound by agreement have been consulted and to give the Minister for Labor the right to administer all sections of the Act; agreed to by the House on 8 November.

Schools Commission Bill 1973 -extensively amended on 20-21 November 1973 including provisions on the structure of the Commission, appointment of members, functions of the Commission, reporting of operations and Schools Advisory Boards: the House on 27 November agreed to one amendment, indicating that any reference to schools refers to both government and non-government schools, but disagreed to the remaining 14 amendments; insisted upon by the Senate 5 December; the House on 5 December insisted on disagreeing to the amendments, the Senate on 12 December did not insist on its initial amendments, but made further amendments to which the House agreed on the same day.

Seas and Submerged Lands Bill 1 973 [No. 2] -amended on 27 November 1973 to delete Pan III (dealing with recovery of off-shore minerals); agreed to by the House 28 November.

Industries Assistance Commission Bill 1 973 -amended on 28 November to 5 December 1973, including disclosure of interests by Commissioners, extension of time from 6 to 10 years after imposition of duties before Commission can initiate review, and establishing a separate Temporary Assistance Authority; agreed to by the House on 5 December.

States Grants (Schools) Bill 1973 -amendment requested on 5 December 1973 to ensure minimum per capita grants to non-government schools; modification to this request proposed by the House on 12 December were agreed to by the Senate on 13 December.

Law Reform Commission Bill 1973 -Bill introduced in the Senate, amended extensively on 6 December 1973, including deletion of provisions for hearings, a requirement that Commission consider rights and liberties and prohibiting full-time judicial members unless Chairman is judicial office holder: agreed to by the House on 13 December.

Fisheries Bill 1973 -Bill introduced in the Senate, amended on 1 1 December 1973 to delete automatic forfeiture provisions: agreed to by the House on 13 December.

Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Bill 1973 -Bill introduced in the Senate, amended on 1 1 December 1973 to delete automatic forfeiture provisions; agreed to by the House on 1 3 December.

Hospitals and Health Services Commission Bill 1 973 -Bill amended on 13 December 1973 to require consultation between Australian and State Ministers before approval is given to make grants to certain organisations or persons in a State; agreed to by the House on 13 December.

ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE WHITLAM GOVERNMENT- 1974

INCOMES AND TAXES

Australians were better off in 1974 than they have ever been. Average weekly earnings increased by 3.2 per cent in real purchasing power in the year to June 1973 and have increased by a further 3.9 per cent in the year to June 1 974. There has been a gain in real living standards of more than 7 per cent under the Labor Government.

Tax Cuts

We have cut taxes. Our tax cuts, worth $ 1,200m in a full year, are based on a major restructuring of the tax scales to benefit those most in need. They will save $5 a week for people on taxable incomes of $6,000 and about $2 a week on taxable incomes up to $10,000. PA YE deductions from January to June 1975 will give the taxpayer the benefit of the whole of the latest tax reduction during that period.

Higher Pay

The Government has achieved a total increase of $17 a week in the minimum wage through its intervention in the national wage case before the Arbitration Commission.

Equal Pay For Women

The Government has achieved equal pay for women through its intervention before the Commission including the extension of the minimum wage to females.

Cost-of-Living Adjustments

The Government is backing the case for the restoration of quarterly cost-of-living adjustments. Our wage indexation proposals will be considered in the National Wage Case now before the Commission.

Annual Leave

We are supporting moves for four weeks' annual leave. Our granting of four weeks' leave to Australian public servants has hastened the extension of this reform to State public servants.

Family Tax Rebate

We have introduced a tax rebate for low-income families. In some cases the saving to a taxpayer from this rebate will be even greater than his saving from restructuring of the tax scale. A taxpayer with a dependent wife and two dependent children, and with a gross earnings of $4,000 a year, will save more than $3 a week from the rebate.

Home Interest Savings

We are allowing people buying their homes to deduct interest payments on mortgages from their taxable income. About 1,400,000 taxpayers will benefit from the deduction. Taxpayers will get the benefit in their PA YE deductions from January 1975.

Working Conditions

We have ratified 10 ILO Conventions and become the first Government in the southern hemisphere to extend the ILO Convention on maternity leave to its own employees. We are the first Government in the world to give paid paternity leave to husbands.

THE ECONOMY, INDUSTRY AND TRADE

Throughout the year the Government has contended with the world-wide problems of inflation and unemployment. Its approach has been flexible and many-fronted. In an international inflationary situation the Government has used every weapon and constitutional power at its disposal to check inflation and pursue its goal of full employment. Our record compares well with other countries facing similar problems.

Easier Credit

The Government has eased credit, boosted the money supply and cut interest rates on short-term Government securities. The Government is determined to reduce unemployment and monetary and fiscal policies have been directed to that end.

Monetary Measures

We have relaxed controls on foreign capital inflow and devalued the currency by 12 per cent as part of our effort to boost the economy and maintain employment in the face of world economic difficulties.

Structural Adjustment Assistance

We are helping people and companies who may be harmed by any measures we have taken to strengthen the economy. We believe the nation and not the individual should bear the burden of these necessary changes. Milk processing, textiles, apparel, footwear, and electronic industries have sought assistance so far. Payments totalling $200,000 have been made.

Manpower Policy

The Government has introduced a National Employment and Training System (NEAT) to train men and women in new jobs, relieve unemployment and streamline the nation's manpower resources. Our Regional Employment Development Scheme is relieving unemployment and helping local works projects.

Assistance to Country Towns

To counter the effects of unemployment we have announced a special program of assistance to manufacturing industries in country towns affected by our economic measures.

Industry Panels

We have set up industry advisory panels representing industry, trade unions, consumer industries and Government departments to advise the Government on industrial planning and co-operation.

More Funds to the States

The 1 974-75 Budget provided for an aggregate increase in funds available to the States of 38.4 per cent. The greater part of this increase is in specific purpose payments. However, general purpose funds which the States may spend us they wish are to increase rapidly in 1974-75. Present estimates show an increase of 26 per cent.

Prices Justification Tribunal

We have extended the jurisdiction of the Prices Justification Tribunal to enable it to exercise greater influence over retail prices and prices of imported goods. We are helping the representation of consumer interest at Tribunal inquiries. Three new members have been appointed to the Tribunal and its staff is being strengthened.

Export Bank

The Government has established the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation to function as an export bank. New trade agreements have been signed with the EEC to safeguard Australian exports to Europe.

Manufacturing Industry Committee

In July the Government formed an expert committee comprising representatives of industry, government, the trade unions and academic circles to advise on policies for the development of manufacturing industry. The committee's report is expected to be available in 1 975.

National Small Business Bureau

The Government in 1974 established a National Small Business Bureau to develop and implement a comprehensive and co-ordinated national program of assistance. Triebureau has been assessing in depth the needs of small business and identifying deficiencies in existing services.

Tax Indexation

The Government has formed an expert committee to determine if any fundamental changes are required in the taxation system to take account of the effects of inflation on taxation paid by persons and companies.

AIDC

The Government has continued its attempts to expand the role and scope of the Australian Industry Development Corporation, but the Opposition has continued to reject our proposals in the Senate. The proposed legislation will extend the range of industries in which the Corporation may assist companies. It will promote Australian ownership and control as a primary objective. Unlike now, the Corporation will be able to initiate investment proposals itself and will no longer be required to borrow principally from overseas.

National Investment Fund

A National Investment Fund will be established to provide finance for AIDC to carry out its expanded role. Investors in the fund will include institutional investment, large foreign investors, and individual members of the Australian public.

Assistance to Inventors

The Government has announced a major program for assistance to inventors. The program aims to encourage invention by providing assistance to private inventors in the development of their concepts up to the final patent stage. In 1974-75 an amount of $228,000 has been appropriated to give effect to this new program.

Motor Industry

The Government has announced new measures to assist and strengthen the Australian motor vehicle industry. The Government intends the new policy to operate for ten years, thus providing a stable framework within which industry can confidently plan. The new arrangements will result in a better based industry with consequent advantages for consumers and the economy generally. They will also allow necessary changes to proceed in a manageable way.

Assistance will be based on a company average local content plan of 85 per cent. This will be supported by a tariff of 35 per cent on complete cars when imports were less than or equal to 20 per cent of total passenger motor vehicle registrations and 45 per cent when in excess of 20 per cent. A differential of 10 per cent would apply between duties on imports of cars and unassembled vehicles. Components would generally be dutiable at 25 per cent.

Shipbuilding

New assistance for the shipbuilding industry was given in 1974. The new arrangements provide for subsidy ranging from 25% on small vessels up to a maximum of 45% on large vessels, with the 45% to be progressively phased down to 25% by 1980. Import controls on ships will be modified, and subsidy extended to ships built for operation overseas by Australian flag operators.

Footwear

The Government has placed temporary import restraints on most types of footwear. The import restrictions are intended to limit imports of footwear over the next 12 months to a level 20 per cent higher than the level of imports in 1972-73. A reference on the long-term protective needs of the footwear industry has been sent to the Industries Assistance Commission.

Overseas Trading Corporation

The Government ha' decided to establish an Australian Overseas Trading Corporation. The Corporation, which will have the powers to purchase and sell goods overseas, is designed to fill gaps in Australia's existing trading systemespecially against the background of the changing international trade situationTrade Agreements

Trade agreements have been signed with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Iran, the German Democratic

Republic and Hungary. Australia has successfully negotiated an agreement on tariff reductions and other concessions with the European Economic Community to come into force on 1 January 1975. The purpose of the agreement is to compensate Australia for the loss of Commonwealth preferences following Britain 's entry into the Community customs union.

Foreign Takeovers

During 1974 the Government has closely scrutinised takeover activity by foreign interests among Australian companies. In the period to mid-November more than 340 proposed takeovers have been brought to notice. The Government refused 5 takeovers which it considered to be against the national interest; 126 were allowed to proceed; 21 have lapsed; in 146 cases action was not available under the Companies (Foreign Take-overs) Act and 47 cases are currently under consideration.

Financial Corporation Act

We have passed the Financial Corporations Act to give the Government adequate powers over non-bank financial institutions, thereby supplementing existing monetary policy weapons to assist in the effective management of the economy.

EDUCATION

The Government has continued the great progress begun last year in education. We have tackled new areas including technical and further education. We are spending four times as much as our predecessors on education. We are adjusting grants to schools to keep pace with the effects of inflation so that schools can still plan confidently ahead.

Primary and Secondary Education

Following the Government's acceptance of the major recommendations of the Karmel Committee and the establishment of the Schools Commission, programs intended to upgrade educational opportunities for children in all schools, began to operate in 1974. Grants totalling $780m are being made available to schools throughout Australia over the two years 1974 and 1975 under seven programs- the General Recurrent, General Building, Libraries, Disadvantaged Schools, Special Education, Teacher Development, and Innovations Programs. This expenditure includes supplementary assistance of $82m for government and nongovernment schools provided in the Budget to compensate for the effects of cost increases.

Technical and Further Education

We have embarked on our plans for a massive upgrading of technical and further education. We are extending to new fields the great initiatives we began last year in primary and secondary education. The Government will spend $100m over 1974-75 and 1975-76 on technical and further education. We will augment our programs for education generally in accordance with the recommendations of the Schools Commission.

Universities

The Government announced the provision of special grants to universities over the 1 973-75 triennium for the establishment or expansion of appropriate courses to increase the output of social workers, special education teachers, and general medical practitioners. The Government also announced that new universities would be established at Campbelltown in New South Wales, Geelong in Victoria and at Albury-Wodonga.

Advanced Education

Significant developments in this field during 1974 were those relating to the education of teachers. All former Slate teachers colleges have now been integrated into the advanced education system as a result of the Government's acceptance in 1973 of the Report on Teacher Education 1973-7S by the Commission on Advanced Education. From 1974 approved non-government teachers colleges are being assisted with recurrent costs following the Government's acceptance of a Report by the Commission recommending that recurrent funds totalling $6.4m be provided for these colleges in 1 974 and 1 975. Funds of $4. 7m were provided in the Budget for 1974-75.

A further measure relating to the education of teachers is the proposed establishment of a committee of inquiry into the preparation of technical education teachers. The Committee, which is in the process of being established, will report to the Committee on Technical and Further Education and the Commission on Advanced Education in 1 975.

Student Assistance

From the beginning of 1974, the Government has replaced its former competitive schemes of student assistance at the tertiary and secondary levels with noncompetitive schemes intended to assist students with limited financial resources.

The introduction this year of means-tested living allowances for unbonded full-time students at approved tertiary and post-secondary institutions supplemented the Government's decision to assume full financial responsibility for tertiary education and to abolish tuition fees in tertiary institutions in 1974. Appropimately 60,000 students are receiving living allowances under the Tertiary Education Assistance Scheme compared with some 48,000 full-time students assisted under the former competitive tertiary schemes in 1 973. Some 8,500 students are receiving benefits under the Secondary Allowance Scheme, another new scheme introduced this year to assist families with limited financial resources to maintain their children during the last two years of secondary education.

Expenditure on the student assistance program has risen from $88m in 1973-74 to an estimated $I20m in 1974-75. General increases have been announced from the beginning of 1975 in benefits payable under student assistance schemes to assist students with rising costs.

Migrant Education

Expenditure on English Language programs for migrant children and adults is estimated at $20.4m for 1974-75, an increase of 43 per cent over expenditure in 1 973-74.

During 1974 the Government announced the appointment of a committee to inquire into the teaching of the languages of the major migrant groups in schools, and the establishment of a joint inquiry by the Australian, New South Wales and Victorian Education Departments into the educational programs of schools with high enrolments of migrant children.

Education in the A.C.T.

An Interim Schools Authority has been set up to administer and plan for the future development of the government school system in the A.C.T. pending the establishment of a permanent Authority. With the current emphasis on joint education, the Interim Authority has taken steps to establish school boards.

SOCIAL SECURITY

We have raised all pensions and social security payments. At the same time the Government is improving its whole social security program in other fundamental ways. We do not believe that social security comes from cash benefits alone.

Record Pension Increase

Pensioners in July received their biggest increase on rerecord an extra $5 a week. It was the second increase in 1974. Substantial increases have also been made in repatriation and service benefits. New benefits, including free medical care for ex-POW 's have been introduced. Pensions now represent about 24 per cent of average weekly earning.

Repatriation Benefits

We have substantially increased repatriation benefits and introduced new benefits for ex-servicemen including free cancer treatment for all Australian veterans and free medical, hospital, dental, ophthalmological, para-medical treatment and (subject to a small contribution) nursing home care to all former prisoners-of-war

National Compensation

We have introduced our plans for a National Compensation Scheme. They are currently under consideration by the Legislative and General Purpose and the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Standing Committees of the Senate. The legislation proposes a comprehensive compensation scheme and the payment of benefits for incapacity resulting from injury or sickness, based on proposals made in the report of a committee of inquiry established by the Government.

Aged or Disabled Persons Homes

The Government has increased the subsidy under the Aged Persons Homes Act (now the Aged or Disabled Persons Homes Act) from $2 for $1 to $4 for $1 and widened the scope of the Act to encompass accommodation for disabled adults. Subsidy was also extended to local government borrowings which were previously ineligible to attract a grant under the Act.

The Government approved two increases in the maximum subsidy limits under the Act and in April introduced a separate subsidy of up to $1,600 a unit for the acquisition of land. The two increases saw the subsidy limits rise from $5,200 to $7,800 for a single unit and from $6,000 to $9, 100 for a double. With the introduction of the $4 for $ 1 subsidy these limits rose to $9,360 and $10,920 respectively, plus a maximum of $ 1 ,920 a unit for land.

Hostel Care for the Aged

The Government has amended the Aged Persons Hostels Act to enable the maximum grant to be increased from $7,800 for each person accommodated to $9,000 from I April 1974 and to $11,700 from 1 October. An additional grant of up to $2,400 per person was introduced for the purchase of land. A further $250 a person is available for furnishings.

Meals on Wheels Subsidy

The Government has increased the basic rate of subsidy paid to 'meals-on-wheels' services from 20c to 25c for all meals served since I July 1974.

Handicapped Persons Welfare

The Government has announced major new initiatives to improve services to handicapped people and to Voluntary, religious and similar organisations caring for them. They include a free of means test incentive allowance of $5 a week to all disabled people employed in approved sheltered workshops and an increase in the rate of existing capital and equipment subsidy to sheltered workshops and handicapped children 's training centres from $2 for $ 1 to $4 for $ I .

Subsidies will be paid for maintaining existing buildings and for rehabilitation and recreation facilities (including holiday cottages and camps).

Training Allowances for Rehabilitation

A recent amendment to the Social Services Act provided for more generous training allowances to be paid to handicapped persons. The new allowances are based on the adult male average award wage payable under the new National Employment and Training System. The previous training allowances paid to the handicapped were based on the pension plus an additional allowance.

Nursing Home Benefits

There have been two increases during 1974 in Government nursing home benefits. The most recent increase was on IS October last and it was approximately $ 14m a year. The Government has allocated an additional $40m a year towards nursing home benefits. Government payments on behalf of nursing home patients will now be $16lm a year. This is a 73 per cent increase on the last Government's figures.

Homeless Persons

We are assisting the homeless in new ways. Under a new program capital grants will be made to organisations over a three-year period for approved projects in order to improve inadequate existing accommodation, to provide additional accommodation and to allow for the development of new and innovative services. Advisory Committees in each State will be established.

Community Information Centres

Funds have been provided to help establish up to twelve community information centres. Arrangements are currently being made to make funds available to 12 suitable organisations for this purpose. In addition, funds will be available to assist existing Community Welfare Agencies in serious financial need.

Welfare Rights Program

Organisations dealing with particular ethnic or disadvantaged groups have been requested to formulate proposals for a welfare rights service to meet the groups they serve. An amount of $ 100,000 has been allocated in a pilot program to provide up to $ 1 0,000 to each of five organisations in Sydney and five in Melbourne. Five organisations have been approved in Melbourne and grants have been allocated. Discussions with suitable organisations in Sydney are at an advanced stage.

Australian Assistance Plan

The Australian Assistance Plan was introduced on a pilot basis in 1973-74. Grants were made to 35 bodies to cover the administrative costs involved in establishing Regional Councils for Social Development throughout Australia. The Budget increased the amount allocated for the operation of the Plan for $0.9m for 1973-74 to $5,970,000 for 1974-75. It is anticipated that legislation will be introduced next year which will lead to the establishment of approximately 70 Regional Councils for Social Development throughout Australia.

HEALTH

Legislation authorising the Government's universal health insurance program was passed at the Joint Sitting of the Parliament on 7 August 1974. On 27 November the Government reintroduced legislation to finance the health insurance program. The program will be implemented on I July 1975 and the appointment of staff to the Health Insurance Commission is proceeding.

Community Health Centres

In 1974 the Community Health and Community Mental Health, Alcoholism and Drug Dependency Programs have been implemented. They will ensure a high standard of community based health care services in co-operation with the States, local government bodies, voluntary agencies and community groups.

In the two year's operation of these programs the Australian Government has provided funds totalling $60m. A total of 356 Community Health and 109 Community Mental Health projects have been approved for Australian Government funding. The first Australian Community Health Centre was opened in 1 974 at Deer Park, Victoria.

Australian Hospitals Development Program

The Hospitals and Health Services Commission completed a study of hospitals in Australia and its report was tabled in Parliament in April. The Government has agreed to a five year program of capital assistance for the development of public hospital facilities and appropriated $28m for expenditure by the States on individual projects during 1974-75.

Optometrical Benefits

The Government is introducing fee-for-service benefits for optometrical consultation in co-operation with the Australian Optometrical Association. The present restriction on benefits for doctors' consultations resulting in the prescription of spectacles will be removed when the optometrical consultation benefits are introduced. Optometrical consultation benefits will be payable for services by optometrists who undertake to charge no more than agreed fees. Benefits will be 85 per cent of those fees with a maximum patient payment of $5.

Dental Health

Dental therapy training schools have been opened in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia and existing training schools in Tasmania and South Australia have been extended. Construction is progressing on four new major training schools and three regional training schools. September 1 974 saw the occupation of the new Westmead Dental Therapy Training School in Sydney. The number of dental therapy trainees in Australia increased from 50 in 1973 to 204 in 1974. It is expected that this number will increase to more than 300 in 1 975. Since the inception of the scheme, grants to the States totalling $15,592,475 have been approved.

Free Hospital Scheme in A.C.T.

Free hospital treatment is being implemented in the A.C.T. This scheme will provide free medical treatment for hospital patients who choose to use it in the public hospitals in Canberra. It is designed to function side-by-side with private 'fee-for-service' care in public hospitals. It is in keeping with the Government's policy to introduce hospitalisation without charge and without means test and provides for a choice not previously available in the A.C.T.

Pharmaceutical Benefits

The Government has removed many restrictions on the prescribing of drugs as pharmaceutical benefits. As recently as 1 December restrictions were removed from 47 different pharmaceutical benefits and the requirement for a doctor to obtain the authority of the Director of Health to prescribe certain benefit items was removed in respect of a further ten drugs.

Quarantine Service

The Government proposes to operate plant and animal quarantine as it already operates human quarantine, and thereby establish a comprehensive Australian quarantine service. State Premiers have been requested to facilitate discussions on detailed arrangements for the transfer of functions and the continuation of consultation between officers of their Departments of Agriculture and the Australian Department of Health. Operation of a comprehensive quarantine service by the Australian Government will permit increased efficiency through rationalisation of staff and other resources, greater flexibility, more uniformity and procedures and more effective planning and integration of administration.

Family Planning

On 8 October 1974 Dr Stefania Siedlecky was appointed Consultant in Family Planning to the Australian Department or Health. She will assist in the development and implementation of new initiatives in Family Planning.

CITIES AND REGIONS

The Government has developed its plans for creating new cities and improving our existing cities. We have reached agreement with the States on 76 boundaries Tor regions which the Government will use as the basis for its programs.

Grants to Local Government

We have approved the first direct grants ever made by a Federal Government to local councils. The first grants, recommended by the Grants Commission, total $S6.3m. Councils will be Tree to spend them as they wish to improve community services and amenities.

Growth Centres

In the financial year 1974-75 the Australian Government has provided $70.3m for financial assistance to the States Tor growth centres and related projects in Albury-Wodonga, Monarto, Geelong, Bathurst-Orange and HolsworthyCampbelltown. In Tasmania assistance will be provided for the State Development Strategy Study to continue.

Land Commissions

We have gone ahead with the establishment of Land Commissions in the States to acquire, develop and service land in existing urban areas for resale at fair prices to homebuyers

The South Australian Parliament has passed legislation setting up a Land Commission. The Victorian Government agreed in May to establish an Urban Land Council. Agreements in principle have been reached with New South Wales and Tasmania and substantial agreement has been reached in negotiations with Queensland and Western Australia. An Urban Land Prices Report for 1968 to 1974 will be published soon.

National Estate

We have safeguarded the national estate- the unique and beautiful things, the things worth keeping in our country. Last financial year 101 national estate projects were approved at a total cost of $2. 5m. We have begun discussions with each State on projects to be included in this year's program under which a total of $8m has been allocated. An Interim Advisory Committee has been established on the National Estate pending a Bill to create an Australian Heritage Commission.

National Sewerage Program

We have caught up further with the sewerage backlog. In the last financial year $37.65 worth of approved works were carried out. A total of $1 10m will be made available for works started this financial year and the Government has held initial discussions with State officers on allocating these funds.

Inner City Rehabilitation

In 1974 the transfer of the Glebe lands in Sydney to the Australian Government was completed and the Australian Government Project Office was opened there in August. The office will run the rehabilitation project. Encouragement of local participation in planning will be one of its most important functions.

In Melbourne, a committee representing the Victorian Housing Commission, the South Melbourne City Council and the Government has been formed to administer the rehabilitation project at Emerald Hill on property acquired by the Australian Government in May.

Urban Local Roads

The Urban Local Roads Program is designed to improve the quality of residential streets and will include a number of innovations to lift the environmental standards of roads in urban and provincial centres. A total of $30m will be made available under this program in the next three years.

Water Supply Schemes

We are providing assistance for Adelaide's treatment scheme and the north-west Tasmanian regional water supply scheme. A total of $4.4m will be made available this financial year on the same basis as for the national sewerage program- that is 30 per cent grants and 70 per cent at the long term bond rate.

Area Improvement

These programs are directed to specific regions where the Government has decided to concentrate assistance for social and economic reasons and because major deficiencies exist.

In 1973-74 the program operated successfully in two regions, one in the western suburbs of Sydney and another in the western suburbs of Melbourne, under which a total of $ 1 5.5m was spent. Subject to States' agreement, the program will be extended to 1 1 more regions this financial year and $ 13.8m has been allocated for the program.

WOMEN

One of the continual and constant concerns of the Australian Government since is attained office two years ago has been the firm establishment of the basic human rights to those individuals and sections within the Australian community who have been denied them by reason of their birth, color, creed, nationality, or sex. in no way has the Government's concern in this area been more clearly demonstrated than in its desire to raise the status of women in Australian society.

International Women's Year

The United Nations has proclaimed 1975 as International Women's Year. The Government welcomes this proclamation and is determined to make the Year a success.

A National Advisory Committee has been appointed to advise the Government on themes and programs and an initial $2m has been allocated for the Year. The Committee will give priority to those areas affecting every girl and woman in society. These are health and welfare, child care, education, work, creativity and general community attitudes. The Committee will also act as a catalyst to more effective action by government departments in respect of women. The program that will arise out of the funding of projects in these areas will reflect the Committee's concern that each member of society be allowed the freedom necessary to develop within, and participate in, that society.

Conventions

Australia will mark the 26th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1974 by becoming a party to two significant international conventions concerned with promoting the civil rights of women. The first of these is the 1953 United Nations Convention on the Political Rights of Women. The second is International Labour Organisation Convention No. 100- the Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951.

The Convention on the Political Rights of Women extends to women the basic right to take and to hold public office on equal terms with men.

Australia's ratification of International Labour Organisation Convention No. 100, which provides for equal remuneration for work of equal value by men and women, means that the Government has now fulfilled its stated objective of ratifying all the International Labour Organisation conventions in the field of human rights.

Royal Commission into Human Relationships

On 21 August 1974 I announced the appointment of the Royal Commission into Human Relationships. The Commission's task is to look into and report upon the pressures existing in Australian society that place a stress upon relationships between people. The terms of reference include such important matters as sex education, family planning, related medical training and services and the position of women in relation to these subjects.

Study of the Educational Needs of Women and Girls

In July this year the Government announced the formation of a Committee by the Schools Commission to undertake a special study of the effects of social change on the educational needs of women and girls. The outcome of this wide-ranging study will be a report recommending programs and changes to correct the present imbalance which has restricted the career and life-choices open to women and girls.







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