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Friday, 21 May 1965

Senator ANDERSON - The Minister for Health has furnished the following answers to the honorable senator's questions -

1.   The problems associated with mentally retarded children, whether they are of an educational or health nature, are the responsibility of the respective State Governments. The Commonwealth at present, however, accepts responsibility for a significant proportion of the capital cost of building and equipping mental health institutions and has been accepting this responsibility since 1955 under the States Grants (Mental Institutions) Act 1955. The financial asistance to the States in connection with buildings and equipment of mental health institutions has been extended for a further three years under the provisions of the States Grants (Mental Health Institutions) Act 1964. This Act continued the Commonwealth contribution on a £1 for £2 basis, but the ceiling of £10,000,000 provided for in the 1955 Act has been abolished as a further step towards assisting the States in their programme for expanding and modernising mental health institutions. In the case of a number of institutions which provide nursing home care as defined in the National Health Act and which do not receive an annual subsidy from the State Government or capital subsidy under the States Grants (Mental Health Institutions) Act, the Commonwealth provides assistance in the form of a nursing home benefit of £1 a day. In addition, research work is being carried out at the Institute of Child Health into the medical aspects of mongolism.

2.   A publication issued by the Handicapped Children's Association A.C.T. (Inc.), entitled " Directory of Educational and Training Centres for Mentally Handicapped Children in Australia" gives information about the education and training facilities available to parents of mentally retarded children. I have forwarded a copy of this publication to the honorable senator.

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