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Wednesday, 4 March 1970

We have now progressed to the stage of a complete review of the Nimmo report and the initiation of action to implement many of its major recommendations. The total picture presented by the far reaching changes I have just outlined and the other improvements recently introduced by this Government is one of a completely reconstructed scheme - indeed, a new scheme - which will be known as the Health Benefits Plan. The many facets of the Health Benefits Plan clearly reflect the Government's particular concern for those members of our society who are in need of assistance and to whom this Government is resolved to provide assistance.

The scope of the proposed improvements which I have outlined is extremely wide, but it should not be assumed that they represent a final solution. We recognise that conditions change, needs change and priorities change. We have demonstrated the capacity of our voluntary system to meet the challenges of change and are confident that its future responses will be as effective and satisfying as we know our current proposals will be. Lastly, may I emphasise that the effectiveness of these new arrangements depends heavily on the co-operation of the many parties involved - members of the general public as well as State governments and authorities, the medical and paramedical professions, social welfare agencies, employers and health insurance funds. We are confident that this co-operation will be given readily.

I present the following paper:

Health Benefits - Ministerial Statement, 4 March 1970. and move:

That the House take note of the paper.

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