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Tuesday, 25 May 1993
Page: 1168

Senator BOSWELL (Leader of the National Party of Australia) (11.41 a.m.) —That is very good information, to a question I did not ask. I thank the Minister for those figures. Three special benefits or special programs are offered and people can apply for them. Mr Crean's department refers to them. An article from the Country Life, entitled `Help in crisis', states:

People in crisis situations can get help from regional offices of the Department of Social Security. Special financial assistance programs include special benefit, hardship provisions and emergency relief payments.

Can I be given some advice on how many farmers are receiving special benefit. Does that program actually apply to farmers; if not, to whom does it apply? I understand the hardship provision, which I think is the old part C of the rural adjustment scheme which will be abolished in November. I understand that the emergency relief payments are made to St Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army and similar organisations. It is very difficult to understand how these three programs, which have been advertised and promoted in the rural press, will give some positive benefit to people who are hard-pressed due to the wool crisis and the drought crisis in Queensland.