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Notice given 27 May 2003

1480  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister for Family and Community Services—With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 1357:

(1) Given the answer to part (2)(b), can the Minister explain the discrepancy between the answers given and the figures published by the Department of Health and Ageing on page 10 of the Australian on 24 March 2003.

(2) On what evidence does the Minister base the assertion in answer to part (3) that the government disability services deal with clients with higher support needs.

(3) With reference to the answer to part (3), that the current snapshot service data and the Productivity Commission cost data is to be treated with caution, and that the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare demand study has not been fully recognised in the Commonwealth State and Territory Disability Agreement (CSTDA) growth funding: how does the department do its planning with such unreliable data.

(4) With reference to the answer to part (7), that the ‘Commonwealth’s view is that residential aged care rarely provides appropriate accommodation support for younger people with disabilities’: does the Minister accept that this is the only option for accommodation for some families.

(5) Can a copy be provided of the CSTDA Implementation Plan mentioned in the answer to part (8).

(6) With reference to the answer to part (9)(b), which states that the department encourages states and territories to address the needs of young people in nursing homes: (a) how does this occur; and (b) is this encouragement monetary.

(7) Given that the second CSTDA was held up with disputes over funding and the third CSTDA remains unsigned after nearly a year, despite the disability administrators’ CSTDA implementation plan, does the Minister recognise the failure of the CSTDA negotiation process to reach agreement on national strategic policy and funding issues; if so, what process will be put in place to reach agreement.

(8) With the limited growth funding available to the CSTDA over the next 5 years, how is the work plan in relation to young people in nursing homes going to be achieved.

(9) With reference to the Victorian Department of Human Services’ estimate of a 46 per cent growth in service demand for disability services by 2011: how is the CSTDA planning for this growth.

1481  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) Is the Minister aware that Professor Allars, on page 703 of the 1994 Allars report, and the 1997 Community Affairs References Committee report CJD settlement offer stated that many recipients of pituitary-derived hormones experienced difficulties in accessing their medical files, stating that records were ‘missing or destroyed’.

(2) Is the Minister aware that an ‘unapproved’ patient, who declared himself as a patient of Human Pituitary Advisory Committee (HPAC) doctors, could only obtain access to his medical files by applying to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

(3) (a) What does the department consider as an ‘unapproved patient’; and (b) is it true that some 500 to 600 people fit this description.

(4) How can ‘unapproved patients’ prove themselves, given they often do not have access to their medical records unless they go through the courts, and nor are they able to access services provided to ‘official recipients’.

(5) (a) Has the Minister been advised of this unfair treatment as stated in both reports; and (b) what does the Minister intend to do to redress this situation.

(6) Why has the department elected not to advise an ‘unapproved recipient’ of his hGH intravenous administration during the ‘provocation’ tests in which his treating hospital advised the department back in 1998.

(7) Will the Minister follow up on the ‘unapproved recipients’ who were declared to the department and who the department elected not to advise of their treatment.

(8) Can the Minister explain why it takes 10 years for an ‘unofficial recipient’ to discover his medical treatment under the HPAC.

(9) (a) Can the Minister explain why some hGH batches were excluded from the information tabled in the Allars Report, namely hGH70, hGH102, hGH104 and hGH105; and (b) given the department holds a document on this ‘unapproved recipient’ dated 1978, after being disclosed as a recipient, why did the department elect not to advise this recipient of his treatment 20 years later in 1998 when his hospital contacted the department.

(10) (a) Can the Minister explain why this patient was written to by both the department and his treating endocrinologist stating that he was never treated with pituitary-derived hormones, when this now proves to be incorrect.

(11) (a) How could this mistake have been made; and (b) what structures are in place to ensure that it does not happen again.

(12) Given the release of this recipient’s medical files under the Freedom of Information Act, and the release of his ‘provocation tests’ and results, what is the Minister doing about those who were ‘Steroid Primed’ and chemically castrated as a result of the program.

(13) In light of this new information and the clinical investigation undertaken prior to any ‘growth treatment’, showing that this ‘unapproved recipient’ was a healthy, child showing no endocrine abnormalities with normal growth hormones levels: why was the child experimented on.

(14) Why does the department refuse to follow up on these subjects who were merely short for their age with no growth dysfunction, who ended up being treated with toxic drugs, namely anabolic steroids.

(15) Does the Minister agree that both the Senate inquiry and the ‘unapproved recipients’ of this program have been misled about this treatment.

1482  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs—

(1) Has the Government established a national co-ordination agency or body responsible for policy guidance, research and monitoring of efforts to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects; if not, why not.

(2) Has the Government drafted specific legislation on arms brokering activities following its agreement to the program of action of the ‘United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its Aspects’; if not, why not.

(3) Has the Government established adequate, detailed standards and procedures relating to the management and security of the stocks of small arms and light weapons held by the armed forces, police and any other body authorised to hold them; if not, why not.

(4) Has the Government developed any partnerships with civil society or non-government organisations in relation to the above; if not, why not.

1483  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs—

(1) What, if any, steps has the Australian Government taken since July 2001 to implement the United Nations program of action on small arms agreed to at the ‘United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its Aspects’, held in July 2001.

(2) Why is the latest information on the department’s website on this issue dated October 2001.