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Wednesday, 11 September 1985
Page: 454

Senator ZAKHAROV —Can the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs advise the Senate of any steps which have been taken to improve the health services to Aboriginal people suffering from trachoma?

Senator RYAN —For some years now successive Commonwealth governments have supported the operation of specialist teams operating in those parts of Australia where Aborigines are most at risk from trachoma. The operations of this program have recently been reviewed and a report is now in the hands of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. The Department allocated $231,000 to the review exercise. It is gratifying to note from the report that the programs which have been operating for some years have had some effect in reducing the incidence of trachoma. Thus there is no intention on the part of this Government to decrease the efforts now being made. The Department has set aside $1m for 1985-86 for anti-trachoma activity and it hopes to see a similar rate of progress as that which has now been confirmed to have taken place in the past few years.