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Friday, 2 December 1983
Page: 3240

Senator ELSTOB —Is the Minister for Social Security aware that although he provided a grant for Down's Children Inc. earlier this year, that organisation has run into difficulties because it has not received expected assistance from the South Australian Government? Is the Minister aware that this is an extremely important program? Can he undertake to investigate the possibility of further funding?

Senator GRIMES —As Senator Elstob said, Down's Children Inc. in South Australia, which cares for children with Down's syndrome, in fact has run into difficulties . I have had representations from various South Australian members and senators over this matter. In fact the organisation itself contacted me, as did the South Australian Government which supports the program but which cannot give any financial aid because of its commitments this year.

As a result of such submissions I have agreed to provide further funds of $12, 500 to meet a deficit incurred in 1983 and to an increase of $10,980 in the level of grant in 1983-84 to the organisation.

There will be a continuing discussion between the Office of Child Care in my Department and the Commonwealth Schools Commission as to the appropriate funding of such early intervention scheme projects which do not clearly fall within the responsibility of one department or another. However, the Government is committed to maintaining important projects like this, subject, of course, to the usual fiscal accountability and the economic availability of funds.

Therefore, at least at the moment Down's Children Inc. is covered. I am sure that as a result of discussions between me, my Department, the Schools Commission and the South Australian Government, all of which are very supportive in this area, this important organisation will be able to continue.