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Thursday, 7 November 1985
Page: 1735

Senator ELSTOB —My question is directed to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs. Has the Government been able to reach agreement with all the States on the veteran home services program which was successful as a pilot scheme in the 1983, 1984 and 1985 Budgets?

Senator GIETZELT —The Government is committed to a program of keeping aged persons in their own homes for as long as possible. To that extent the responsibility for that area falls largely within the jurisdiction of my colleague the Minister for Community Services, Senator Grimes. His Department's home and community services program has been conducting simultaneously with my Department the transference and co-ordination of certain community services designed to provide the option to aged persons to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. To the extent that negotiations have proceeded between Senator Grimes's Department and mine, there have been some unavoidable delays because each State has had in place separate arrangements affecting their responsibilities, which are to be added to by the responsibilities of the Commonwealth. However, we have reached agreement in Tasmania, Victoria and, more recently, in New South Wales. Negotiations are still proceeding in respect of Senator Elstob's State of South Australia and in Western Australia.

The veteran home services program already operates in Tasmania and in metropolitan Melbourne. Services have recently commenced in Ballarat and Geelong in Victoria. The earlier pilot scheme which was commenced by my Department in the 1983 and 1984 Budgets has proved to be such a success that we have allocated $3.5m for those services on a permanent basis to be used for the benefit of all veterans who are eligible for such assistance. A pilot scheme commenced on the Gold Coast in Queensland several months ago. If that is successful we are hopeful that the scheme will be integrated with the Queensland system and will then be extended throughout Queensland. Several weeks ago I discussed the matter with the New South Wales Minister for Youth and Community Services. It is anticipated that by Christmas all schemes will be in place and veterans will be provided with the services as a result of the success of the home help scheme which commenced in 1983.