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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4544

Mr Kennedy asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   By what means do representatives of (a) Commonwealth and (b) medical benefits organisations ensure that migrants arriving by .(i) air and (ii) ship are informed of their eligibility for the subsidised health insurance scheme.

(2)   Were measures planned for advertising this, scheme through literature printed, in foreign languages.

(3)   If so, were these measures deferred because of the Government's economy drive in February.

Dr Forbes - The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   and (2) Information concerning health benefits, including specific information on the Subsidised Health Benefits Plan, is included in a booklet printed in 20 languages which is provided by the Department of Immigration to migrants before embarkation for Australia. A programme of advertising was carried out by the Department of Health in foreign language newspapers and in foreign language radio sessions late in 1969 and early in 1970, to assist in the introduction of the Subsidised Health Benefits Plan.

The major health benefits organisations in all States have co-operated in producing information brochures especially for migrants. These brochures are printed in appropriate foreign languages. They are distributed overseas through airline and shipping companies concerned with the carriage of migrants, and through travel agents and Australian banks. Several of the major health benefit organisations have migrant advisory officers who visit Commonwealth hostels and, on request, provide migrants with information concerning the health benefits system.

(2)   and (3) Economy measures have had a bearing on the deferment of proposals for further advertising of the Subsidised Health Benefits Plan in foreign languages. However, as indicated in the reply to question (1), action has been, and continues to be, taken with a view to ensuring that information concerning the Plan is readily available to migrants in foreign languages.

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