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Thursday, 26 September 1974
Page: 1443

Senator WHEELDON - As honourable senators are aware, I tabled volume one of the report of the Committee of Inquiry into Compensation and Rehabilitation in the Senate on 10 July this year. At that time I said that a separate report on rehabilitation and safety would be presented. There is a third volume to the committee's report, which unfortunately I am unable to present at this time because the printing of it has not been completed. It is described as a compendium, and contains statistical and costing details together with some other background information.

The national compensation scheme, as put forward by Mr Justice A. D. Woodhouse, D.S.C., and Mr Justice C. L. D. Meares, is a total concept, designed to guarantee the social well-being of all those in our community who encounter difficulty through illness, accident, or congenital disability. The report stresses safety as a vital preventative measure, rehabilitation as a means of reducing or eliminating incapacity when prevention has failed, and finally, compensation as a last resort when preventative and rehabilitative measures have failed.

These are the 3 main elements of the total scheme, and for each of them to be fully effective, there needs to be an overall co-ordinated effort. The report offers suggestions for bringing together in a co-ordinated way the present fragmented rehabilitation services in Australia, and it proposes a more scientific approach to safety. I expect there will be considerable public and professional interest in the report, and copies will be widely available through the Australian Government Publishing Service shortly. I commend the report for the consideration of honourable senators.

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