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Wednesday, 13 November 1974
Page: 2316

Senator WHEELDON (Western AustraliaMinister for Repatriation and Compensation) - My information about the problems that have been raised by Senator Jessop is that it is confirmed that the terrain is not ideal for wheelchairs but nonetheless it is better, although not ideal, than the terrain in most other nursing homes. Apparently flatness is not a characteristic of the landscape in nursing homes. I am informed that the structure of the buildings is reasonably suitable for the purpose and no major structural alterations are contemplated. I did not quite follow the problem that Senator Jessop envisaged that the waitresses- or waiters, I suppose, in a society which under a Labor Government is steadily moving towards equality of the sexes- might experience in carrying meals from the kitchen to the dining room, but I am informed again that no problems have been found in relation to this transportation in the past and no problems are expected in the future.

I appreciate the congratulations of Senator Jessop to the Government on the reopening of the Birrallee Convalescent Home. It will be remembered, of course, that our colleague in another place, Mr Jacobi, agitated for many years, both as a member of Parliament and previously as a trade union secretary in South Australia, for the reopening of Birrallee and a large part of the credit is due to Mr Jacobi for his efforts. With regard to Birralee, the staff and patients of that home previously were transferred to the Daw Park Repatriation General Hospital. They are now being transferred back from the Daw Park Repatriation General Hospital to Birrallee and no additional nursing staff is needed at this stage because the nursing staff at present looking after these patients in the Daw Park Hospital are being transferred back to Birrallee with the patients. It may be necessary in the future to appoint additional staff but it is anticipated that, at most, one or two would be required. An assurance has been given to me by the officers of the Repatriation Commission that certainly there will be no reduction in the quality of the care which is given to the acutely ill patients who will be transferred from Daw Park to Birrallee.

Proposed expenditure passed.

Department of Social Security

Proposed expenditure, $141,637,000.

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