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Wednesday, 12 April 1972
Page: 1569

Mr Hayden asked the Minister represent ing the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   Does the Queensland medical benefits fund, the Grand United Order of Oddfellows, refuse to pay doctors direct for services to members where claims for those services involve a Commonwealth subsidy rebate of up to $40, except where financial hardship exists.

(2)   If so, is this practice covered by the rules and regulations of this organisation and have the rules and regulations been authorised by the Department of Health.

(3)   What steps are taken to establish whether or not financial hardship exists in the case of claims which seek direct payment to the doctor providing the medical service.

(4)   Does any similar condition apply to the hospital insurance fund of this organisation.

(5)   Do any other medical or hospital insurance funds in any State have a similar rule.

Dr Forbes - The Minsiter for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   Yes, except where the account is endorsed by the doctor to the effect that he will accept a benefit cheque in full payment or where the claimant is eligible for Subsidised Health Benefits.

(2)   Yes.

(3)   Where a contributor claims hardship, the organisation will make payment.

(4)   No.

(5)   Yes. Five other organisations have similar rules. Enquiries have revealed that a further ten organisations whose rules do not so provide, nevertheless follow similar practices.

Broadcasting: Station at Streaky Bay (Question No. 5075)

MrWallis asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:

(1)   When is it anticipated that the Australian Broadcasting Commission radio station at Streaky Bay, South Australia,, will commence broadcasting.

(2)   Will the broadcasts from this station be confined to relaying from one A.B.C. channel only or will it be able to relay from alternate A.B.C. channels.

Mr Lynch - The acting PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   Due to delays in the construction of the station, it is now expected that the national broadcasting station being established to serve Streaky Bay will commence regular transmissions 'by the end of May, 1972.

(2)   The station, to be known by the call sign 5SY, will form part of the A.B.C.'s Third Network which, although it transmits through' ' one outlet, is itself a composite of the two alternative A.B.C. programmes available in metropolitan centres.

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