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Wednesday, 18 September 1985
Page: 649

Senator HAINES(10.16) —The Australian Democrats welcome the report of the Joint Review of Hostel Care Subsidies Arrangements and the statement on that report from the Minister for Community Services (Senator Grimes). Much concern has been expressed in the community generally and to at least one Senate select committee over the past few years about the needs of elderly and disabled people in the community so far as health care, hostel type care and nursing home care are concerned. As we have become a somewhat more humane and more knowledgeable society, we have turned our attention not just to providing institutionalised care for people of the sort that I have just mentioned, but also to providing quality care which has a large element of flexibility in it and which contains opportunities for the dignity of the people involved in hostel care, indeed hospital care and nursing home care, to be maintained.

This report covers a wide area of issues from administrative arrangements which seek to implement flexibility of movement of residents in and out of residential care programs, through to special considerations for younger disabled people under these sort of programs and on to considerations of things such as residents' rights, respite care access and the special needs of hostels in rural and remote areas. Special attention has been paid to the needs of people in hostel care who have been moved to nursing home care with a warning that that should not be a final resting place, so to speak, for those people but that there should be opportunity for movement back again as maintenance and rehabilitation projects are effective.

We are happy to see in the data that the Minister has had incorporated in Hansard that a significant number of recommendations in this report either have already been accepted by the Government and are in train or are supported by the Government in principle. Of course, I hope that that in principle support is reflected very soon in action taken by the Government to implement those recommendations. However, more important are those recommendations which the Government lists as being for further consideration. I trust that is not a euphemism for the Government's saying that it will not accept those in the near future. I hope that what it means is that it will indeed put them under consideration and accept those in which it sees merit and not reject the ones that it may decide to reject, if there are any, simply because additional funding is required and recommended.

As I said, we welcome this report. We welcome what appears to be an enthusiastic adoption by the Government of at least some recommendations contained in the report. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.