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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2699

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

(   1 ) Does the Minister for Social Security accept the recommendation of the Nimmo Committee that health benefit organisations should hold reserves equal to at least three months' contribution income.

(2)   Will the Minister have Table 6 and Table 14 of the Third Annual Report on the operations of the Registered Medical Benefits and Hospital Benefits Organisations for the year ended 30 June 1973, re-drafted so that the amount of the reserves recommended by the Nimmo Committee Ls segregated from the ' balance of the fund ' column.

(3)   Will the Minister direct that future reports are presented in this way.

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

(   1 ) This matter is currently an issue in a Supreme Court appeal in which I am a party and I do not think it appropriate to comment at this stage.

(2)   and (3) I would remind the honourable senator that the provision in the National Health Act providing for the reporting annually on the operations of registered medical benefits and hospital benefits organisations was introduced by the previous Government. Likewise, the present form of the report follows that developed for the previous Government. I have not sought any change to it.

I am not opposed in principle to the suggestion that the report show the amount of the reserves recommended by the Nimmo Committee's recommendation in a column segregated from the 'Balance of the Fund' column. Such a disclosure would serve to emphasise the excessive reserves held by many of the registered organisations. However, incorporation of this added information would involve the registered organisations and the Department of Social Security in considerable extra work and because of this I am reluctant to impose it as a requirement, at least for the present.

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