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Budget recognises needs of ethnic communities



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NIE W § B rian H ow e

RELEASEDeputy Prime Minister Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services

BH186/92 21 August 1992

BUDGET RECOGNISES NEEDS OF ETHNIC COMMUNITIES

"Measures announced in the Federal Budget this week recognise the special needs of ethnic community groups," Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services, Brian Howe said today.

Addressing ethnic representatives at a conference on Service Development for Migrant Communities in Melbourne today, Mr Howe outlined a number of initiatives in the Budget which are expected to offer benefits to people from non-English

speaking backgrounds.

"The Government's commitment to ensuring equitable access to services for all Australians, including those from non-English speaking backgrounds, will continue and, under this Budget, will be better integrated and more accessible."

"Medicare, for instance, which is central to the Government's Social Justice Strategy, will receive funding of $1.59 billion to enhance equitable access to medical and hospital services," said Mr Howe.

In other Budget initiatives, individual rights and quality of care will be improved, particularly for frail older people, people with disabilities and their carers.

Assistance to carers will be in the form of increases in the Domiciliary Nursing Care Benefit by $5 to $26 per week, from January 1993.

Other measures include:

. a boost of $93 million to make child care places more affordable;

. assistance to Social Security clients and veterans to improve access to housing; and

. a mental health funding package of $135 million, including $107 million to help States and Territories set up a range of community health services for people who are mentally ill. This includes services for people suffering

from the effects of torture and trauma. « ■ · ' — -- -— —

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY

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Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Social Justice Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Commonwealth-State Relations

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Mr Howe added, however, that there is a need for continuing dialogue with ethnic communities to more clearly identify their needs and the means by which these might be met.

"We need to pursue better collection and analysis of data on our ethnic groups and this will be done in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

"As well, we will be working with ethnic communities to evaluate information strategies, prepared by the Department of Health, Housing and Community Services, which target people of non-English speaking backgrounds," Mr Howe said.

Further information: Ross Gardiner (06) 277 7680 Sally Cameron-Stephen (06) 289 7869