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Tuesday, 17 September 1974
Page: 1163

Senator Missen asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:

(   1 ) Did the Minister, in a statement made on 9 July 1 974, point out that there were increased differentials between nursing home benefits paid to Victoria and to the other States, due to the fact that the Victorian Government's standards were higher than those in other States.

(2)   Did the Minister then threaten that he would find an alternative system for financing private sector nursing homes, if the States continued to determine standards on an uneven' basis.

(3)   Are State Governments to be denied the right to determine such standards in accordance with the priorities they represent to their electors.

(4)   Do the high standards set in Victoria accord generally with the recommendations of the Victorian Nursing Council.

Senator Wheeldon - The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   , (3) and (4) I pointed out that it was unreasonable that States should set standards the Australian Government has to pay for. I pointed out that either Victoria had an unreasonably high standard or Queensland at the other end of the cost spectrum had an unreasonably low standard. I saw no evidence that Queensland's situation was unreasonably low. I indicated that the Australian Government has a responsibility to the taxpayers on this matter and that accordingly an effort would be made to establish whether a more practicable and responsible system of funding through nursing home benefits could be established.

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