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Thursday, 13 May 1965

Senator ANDERSON - The Minister for Social Services has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator's ques tion -

Rehabilitation of the physically handicapped is a process which involves many governmental and voluntary welfare agencies. Within this framework the specialised function of the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service is to assist certain categories of disabled people to engage in employment. To achieve this objective the Department of Social Services has established a number of rehabilitation centres which are equipped with facilities for medical treatment, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and vocational assessment. Each centre is staffed by a team of specialists who arrange a co-ordinated programme of treatment and, if necessary, vocational training for each rehabilitee.

Because of the complexity of the service, decentralisation is not practicable. The needs of people living in country areas have therefore been met by arranging for adequate residential accommodation in each State, thus enabling them to receive the same standard of treatment as those living in the metropolitan area. . Close liaison is maintained with the medical profession and with the numerous organisations in each State which are concerned with the welfare of the disabled. Referral to the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service of persons who arc living in country areas, and who may benefit from attendance at its centres, is encouraged.

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