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Thursday, 22 October 1964

Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales) (Minister for Customs and Excise) . - In answer to both Senator Cohen and Senator Ormonde, I point out that details of the actual expenditure are to be found in Division No. 470, sub-division 1, item 01 - Salaries and Allowances as per Schedule. The Department of Social Services, by its very nature, is constantly carrying out an exercise in the field of research. From day to day the officers of the Department are interviewing people who apply for benefits. It has been my experience, and no doubt that of other honorable senators, that where a person cannot go to the office, the Department sends a highly trained officer to his home. The officer interviews the person and gives him the best possible advice to help him obtain pension benefits.

In the field of research, there is a unit which is responsible for carrying out regional research projects on social service matters, such as estimating the number, the cost and the effect of variations in social service qualifications and rates. It provides information and comment on social security theories and practice. It is also the function of this unit to collect and complete statistical data concerning the number of benefit claims received, granted, rejected and so on, and the number of benefits that are in force. It is a constant task. There is also a social welfare unit which is under the control of the Director-General of Social Services. It is primarily concerned with the development of social work within the Department, and the co-ordination of social work in the six State headquarters. It provides a social case work service to certain recipients of benefits. It also collects a store of information on all aspects of social services in Australia and overseas, and maintains an index of social welfare agencies throughout the Commonwealth. As we all appreciate, this work is of the essence of the Department. The work is going on hour by hour and day by day throughout the whole of the financial year.

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