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Change in tuberculosis allowances



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News release from the Australian Minister for Health the Hon. Neal Blewett

CHANGE IN TUBERCULOSIS ALLOWANCES 110/84

The separate allowances paid to tuberculosis sufferers

in Australia are to be phased out by the Federal Government.

Instead people suffering from the disease will be able

to apply for Social Security sickness benefits.

The Federal Minister for Health, Dr Neal Blewett, said

tonight the Government felt there was no longer any need for a

separate benefit for tuberculosis sufferers and a separate

mechanism to administer it. ·

He said the incidence of the disease had greatly dimin­

ished in recent years and fewer than 200 sufferers and dependent

spouses were now receiving the special TB allowances. Accordingly

the Government saw no particular reason to treat tuberculosis

sufferers any differently from people suffering from other ill­

nesses.

Provided they met the eligibility criteria, they would be

entitled to the same sickness benefits as other ill Australians.

Dr Blewett said the change would be undertaken by amend­

ment to the Tuberculosis Act 1948.

This would provide that, from 1.November 1984, new sufferers

from tuberculosis would be treated in the same way as sufferers

from any other illness and would be extended sickness benefits,

provided they met the eligibility criteria for those benefits.

However current sufferers from the disease who had already

been granted tuberculosis allowances would continue to receive

them, but rates of allowances would be frozen at current money '

levels. When the rates were overtaken by the rate of sickness

benefit, it was anticipated that recipients would seek the latter

benefit in lieu of the tuberculosis allowance.

Dr Blewett said the change would mean modest savings in

Government expenditure, amounting to an estimated net saving

in 1984-85 of $28 000.

CANBERRA, 21 August 1984