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Friday, 10 May 1985
Page: 1756

Senator SIBRAA —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. Has the Minister read the article in today's Press on the Royal Far West Children's Health Scheme in New South Wales? Does the Government intend to take any action as a result of the reports it has received on this organisation?

Senator GRIMES —Yes, I saw the article this morning and I have seen similar articles in recent weeks. The Federal Government provides a substantial amount of funds, in excess of $2m a year to the Royal Far West Children's Health Scheme. I am concerned to ensure that proper standards of care and administration are maintained at that institution and by that organisation, and also that the organisation's activities are appropriate in this day and age in the light of changes to medical care in outlying areas. I have had discussions with Mr Mulock, the New South Wales Minister for Health, and recently copies of the reports of the inquiries into the scheme conducted by the New South Wales Government have been forwarded to me. They are now being examined by me and my Department. In fact, today the Secretary of my Department is having discussions with the Secretary of the New South Wales Health Department about the scheme.

When I am further briefed and we have had further discussions, I will be in a position to determine appropriate action to be taken at the Federal level, having regard to our responsibilities in the area. The organisation, as well as receiving a considerable amount of funds from public contributions and investments, also receives funds from the State Department of Health and the State Department of Education, so we are all involved in this matter. I expect to be in a position very soon to see what action we will take about the reports that have been current for some time.