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Tuesday, 16 November 1976

Mr MALCOLM FRASER -Recently I received on behalf of the Commonwealth Government the International Declaration on the Decade of Rehabilitation of the Disabled. In the course of doing so I met the President of Rehabilitation International, Mr Jenkins, who also is President of the Australian Council for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled. I also met members of the Council and other people concerned with many aspects of the disabled who were present on that occasion. I received the declaration which urges governments to develop services for the disabled to a greater extent. The purposes and objectives of the declaration are totally praiseworthy and ones which I believe any government and all political parties ought to support to the maximum extent possible. So the Government takes the declaration seriously. Within the economic resources available to us we will do everything that we can to develop comprehensive services to support the disabled of different kinds. The Government, as the honourable gentleman knows, receives recommendations from the National Advisory Council for the Handicapped. There is a standing interdepartmental committee on rehabilitation. I have written to the Premiers drawing the declaration and its purposes to their attention. I have suggested that the States, I believe, would want to support the declaration and its objectives and to do all they can in their power to support and to assist the disabled.

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