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Tuesday, 8 May 1973
Page: 1843

Mr Whan (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

(1)   What is the policy of the Australian Wool Corporation in allocating wool testing work to competing test houses.

(2)   How many bales of wool have been tested for the Corporation and the Wool Commission by (a) the Australian Wool Testing Authority, (b) Wool Testing Services and (c) Auscore during the period 1st June 1972 to 31st March 1973.

(3)   What procedures are adopted in allocating wool testing contracts.

Dr Patterson - The Acting Minister for Primary Industry has supplied the following answers to the honourable member's question:

(1)   The policy of the Australian Wool Corporation is:

(a)   to allocate the testing of wool owned by the Wool Corporation to the Australian Wool Testing Authority provided:

(i)   the Authority's charges and services are competitive with those of other testing enterprises;

(ii)   a competitive enterprise structure is maintained in wool testing, should a substantial proportion of the Australian wool clip come within the Corporation's control.

(b)   that its staff should, where possible, discreetly influence the testing of wool towards the Australian Wool Testing Authority as the implementation of objective measurement in the marketing of wool proceeds.

(2)   Between 1st June 1972 and 31st March 1973, testing by the Wool Commission and the Wool Corporation has been allocated to:

Australian Wool Testing Authority- 28,500 bales Wool Testing Services- 2,500 bales Auscore - Nil

(3)   See (1) above.

Medical Benefits (Question No. 401)

Dr Forbes (BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for Social

Security, upon notice:

(1)   Did he, in a statement on Monday, 5th March, 1973, describe the action of the previous Government in increasing Commonwealth benefits to avoid additional contributions to contributors to the Medical Insurance Scheme as a device.

(2)   If so, is it the attitude of the Government that the patient should bear the full cost of increased medical fees.

(3)   Can he say whether medical and hospital costs have been escalating rapidly for many years in virtually every country in the world and most experts expect that they will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

(4)   If so, is it the intention of the Government in the proposed compulsory health scheme to constantly increase the percentage of taxable income required as a compulsory contribution rather than increase contributions from general revenue.

Mr Hayden - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes, however 1 referred more to the motives behind the action.

(2)   When the Government receives from the Australian Medical Association particulars of its proposal to increase doctors' fees, the Government will study the proposals to determine the extent to which they are considered reasonable and to consider appropriate adjustments to benefits. The question of whether the increased benefits will be met wholly by the Commonwealth or by the funds or on a sharing basis is one which the Government will consider in the course of its examination.

(3)   It is true that hospital and medical costs have been escalating throughout the world.

(4)   It is proposed that increased costs be met in part by revenue raised from the levy on taxable incomes, and in part by payments from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

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