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Commonwealth's position on allegations concerning Hobart women's shelter

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The Commonwealth Minister for Health, Mr Ralph Hunt, today

said that he was seriously concerned about recent allegations

regarding the women's shelter in Hobart. ■

Mr Hunt said he had recently had discussions with Senator

Shirley Walters and Messrs Bruce Goodluck and Michael Hodgman,

Federal Members ff^om^Tasmania. They had informed him of complaints

they had received about the manner in which the shelter was

conducted. These allegations, if substantiated, would point to

lax management and inadequate supervision of the shelter's operations.

Mr Hunt said he had also had discussions with the Tasmanian

Minister for Social Welfare, Mr Polley, about the allegations.

Mr Hunt said that he had been informed that the Tasmanian Minister

had called for a report from his Department on the shelter. He

had asked Mr ^olley for a copy of this a matter of urgency.

Centres such as the Hobart Women's Shelter are substantially

funded by the Commonwealth under the Community Health Program,

with the balance of funds being provided by the State. Commonwealth

funding is by way of block grants to the States. The State

authorities have responsibility for making payments of both

Commonwealth and State funds to individual centres and for general

supervision of their operations.. However, the Commonwealth

Government had every reason to be concerned with such a project when

such serious allegations·had been made.

1 Depending on the terms of the report by the State authorities

and any remedial action which may be proposed, the question of

continued Commonwealth financial support for this shelter warrants

close examination' Mr Hunt said. . ' CANBERRA. Sect. 18.1971