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Thursday, 25 May 1972
Page: 2157


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

(1)   Is the Minister aware that unemployment in rural areas has risen considerably in the last 12 months.

(2)   Has any survey been conducted by the Department of Social Services as to the social effects that unemployment is having on rural communities, particularly in regard to persons who have families to rear and educate, and who, in moving to other areas for employment, have to sell their homes at an under-valuation price in order to effect a sale.

(3)   Is the Minister aware that the Gunnedah Municipal Council has appointed a social worker to its staff.

(4)   Have any other municipal councils in country areas or shire councils appointed social workers.

(5)   Has any consideration been given by the Government to subsidising the employment of social workers by local government organisations in rural areas so that these organisations can better assist those in need in their local communities.

Senator GREENWOOD-The Minister for Social Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senators's question:

(1)   The Government has taken special measures to relieve unemployment in rural areas. These were announced by the Prime Minister on14th February 1972.

(2)   In recognition of the difficulties of families such as these, unemployment benefit rates were increased substantially as from 25 th February 1972.

(3)   and (4) The Department of Social Services does not maintain information of this kind but it is known that a number of local government authorities employ social workers.

(5)   A number of representations have been received from local government authorities for assistance towards the cost of employing social workers and this matter is receiving consideration.







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