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Thursday, 22 October 1964

Senator COHEN (Victoria) . - I seek information from the Minister as to where I might find references to the expenditure - if indeed there is any - on two matters. The first is research into the social conditions of persons who are in receipt of social service payments of one sort or another. I asked some time ago whether any research was being conducted by the Department into the economic position of age, invalid and widow pensioners. I was told on 2nd September that no research of this kind was being conducted. I asked whether the Department had made any study of the relationship between pension payments and the actual needs of pensioners for food, clothing and other items necessary to sustain a reasonable standard of living. The answer I received was: " No ". I seek to know whether research of any kind into the social environment, and the conditions under which recipients of social service payments live, is being conducted by the Department, and, if so, where the proposed expenditure on such research is to be found in the estimates.

I ask also whether provision is made for welfare work, and, if so, where it is to bc found in the estimates. What staff of welfare workers, if any, dees the Department have? Where is the provision for their salaries, and, in a broad way, what work is being undertaken by them? 1 am concerned with both of these aspects because, in my view, there should bc a relationship between the actual economic position of pensioners, and others in receipt of social service payments of one sort or another, and the payments they are receiving. On my understanding, at the moment the problem is being dealt with largely by voluntary welfare organisations. I am interested to know whether the Department has provided for this matter and where the details can be found in the estimates.

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