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Friday, 9 December 1983
Page: 3601

Senator CHILDS —I direct my question to the Minister for Social Security. How many submissions have been received by the Handicapped Programs Review? Has the 25 November deadline been extended? What arrangements have been made for telephone or Porta-Printer facilities for people who may be unable to prepare written submissions?

Senator GRIMES —At last count we had received over 1,000 submissions to the Handicapped Programs Review, which is a very pleasing result. About 200 of those were oral submissions, using the special telephone line which was established for that purpose. We have extended the 25 November deadline because we realised at the time that we would certainly receive notification from some individuals and organisations that they would be making a submission but would not submit it in time. We shall still receive submissions that have come in after that date, at least up until the end of the year. The telephone line, which is a toll-free number, will continue to be used. Porta-Printer facilities were established, also on the toll-free number, enabling disabled people with hearing and speech impairments to make their submissions. Perhaps I may take the opportunity for a commercial and say that people can do this by dialling the toll-free number, which is 008-026218. They can, therefore, make their submissions despite their disabilities. We are very hopeful that as a result of this fairly free method of people putting in submissions and the free way in which people will be able to express themselves, we shall be able to get a different perception from that which has been possible in the past through the formal submission structure that has been used. As a result of that, we hope that the Department and the Parliament will have a better idea of what people think of the handicapped persons programs which exist now and give us a better idea of how they should be modified.