Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 15 June 1989
Page: 4181


Senator COOK (Minister for Resources)(10.37) —The proposed amendments are not relevant to the Aged or Disabled Persons Homes Amendment Bill. This Bill deals with planning for the future. These amendments seek to make provision for people who might be financially disadvantaged in certain circumstances. Therefore, they are not relevant to this Bill. To some extent that should take care of some of the questions raised by Senator Coulter. On the point he made, I am advised that out of 974 nursing homes, 972 have signed this agreement. I think that speaks for itself in terms of whether there is any reluctance on the part of the institutions themselves to agree to these proposals.

The Opposition's amendments seek to vary the new hostel recurrent funding agreements so that hostels which have not received Commonwealth capital funding-that is, where there is 100 per cent resident capital funding-should not be subject to requirements to accommodate a percentage of financially disadvantaged people. The amendments, as I have said, are not relevant to the Bill. Rather, they are relevant to the issue of variable capital funding in respect of legislation passed by both Houses in 1987. I think Senator Boswell is trying to widen the debate. The background of his interest in these amendments was the Uniting Church in New South Wales. I have here a letter from the Uniting Church New South Wales Synod, Board for Social Responsibility, signed by the Rev. Harry J. Herbert, General Secretary, written to the Hon. Peter Staples, Minister for Housing and Aged Care, in which Mr Herbert says:

. . . I believe that the arrangements as set out in your letter are most satisfactory.

He says in a concluding paragraph:

I regret that an obvious misunderstanding has occurred, but I am delighted that the issue has been settled and the agreement is most suitable to our purposes. You can be assured that my aim is to have the largest possible number of financially disadvantaged person admitted to Uniting Church hostels.

I table that letter because it does go to the point that Senator Boswell is raising. On behalf of the major organisation affected, it is writing to say that it is now satisfied, given the assurances that the Minister has given.