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Tuesday, 6 December 1983
Page: 3348

Question No. 430


Senator Chaney asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 12 October 1983:

(1) Does the Government intend to provide direct funding to the trachoma and eye health program operated by the Aboriginal Medical Services in Western Australia through a committee appointed by them.

(2) Is involvement by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists a pre-condition to funding the Western Australian Aboriginal controlled body.

(3) Has the Government altered its original decision to permit Aboriginal administration of the trachoma and eye health program in Western Australia, if so why.

(4) What amount of funding is to be provided by the Government for this program for this financial year.

(5) What arrangements for the delivery of those funds will be made.


Senator Grimes —The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The details of the national trachoma and eye health program in Western Australia and at the national level are under review. In the meantime funds have been provided to the Aboriginal Medical Service in Perth to enable continuation of necessary interim arrangements.

(2) It is expected that prior to endorsing revised arrangements the Aboriginal Medical Services in Western Australia will indicate that workable on-going arrangements can be developed with the Royal Australian College of Ophthalmologists for the provision of necessary professional services.

(3) Previously the administration of the funding of the national trachoma and eye health program was undertaken by the Royal Australian College of Ophthalmologists-RACO-which worked through committees in the various States and the Northern Territory containing majority Aboriginal representation as well as representatives from the relevant health authorities and RACO. The arrangements between RACO and the Western Australian committee became unworkable and accordingly it has become necessary to develop new arrangements.

(4) Provided workable arrangements can be developed it is expected that approximately $200,000 will be available for a trachoma program in Western Australia.

(5) The interim funding has been made available through the Aboriginal Medical Service in Perth.