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Thursday, 25 May 1972
Page: 3166

Dr Klugman asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Health, upon notice:

What would be the administration expenses of the Comomnwealth Health Insurance Commission if claims were made by participating doctors and not individual patients as assumed in part A7 of the answer to question No. 4715 (Hansard, 7th March 1972, pages 665-7) which estimates the cost of the Australian Labor Party's Medical and Hospital Insurance Scheme.

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

The administration costs of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Commission would, of course, depend on the extent to which doctors claimed directly on the Fund and did not bill the patient, and in the event of doctors not claiming directly from the Fund, the frequency with which patients submitted claims for benefits.

In deriving $21 m as the administration costs of the Commission, it is believed that very few doctors would be willing to bill the Fund direct and accept 85 per cent of the sheduled fee as full payment for the service rendered. Also, in the absence of a deterrent against small claims for medical benefits, it has been estimated that expenses incurred by the proposed Commission in processing medical benefits claims would be little less than the management expenses of existing registered medical benefit organisations.

Pensioners: Ambulance Charges and Subscriptions (Question No. 5392)

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for

Social Services, upon notice:

What concessions and reimbursements are made in each State and Territory for ambulance charges and subscriptions paid by pensioners.

Mr Wentworth - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The Department of Health has supplied the following details in relation to Territories of the Commonwealth:

Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory -

Pensioners are transported free of charge. No ambulance subscription scheme operatesin these Territories.

The provision of ambulance services in the States is a State matter. However, in general the position appears to be:

New South Wales-

Subscription charges and fees for ambulance transport for pensioners may vary considerably between Ambulance Districts. Available information indicates that pensioners may be required to pay from 10 per cent to 52 per cent of the annual family subscription. Should a pensioner not be a subscriber he is usually required to pay half the normal charge for ambulance services for other non-members.


Pensioners are transported free of charge.

Queensland -

Most Ambulance Centres give concessions to pensioners. In Brisbane pensioners are required to pay $1 as compared with the normal annual subscription rate of $6. For non-members, the charge per trip for pensioners is $2 as against $10 for other non-members.

South Australia -

The St John Ambulance Service offers a reduced yearly contribution rate for pensioners. Pensioners who are non-members may receive ambulance services at a reduced charge.

Western Australia -

The St John Ambulance Service offers a reduced yearly contribution rate for pensioners of $1 per annum for a single pensioner and $2 per annum for a married pensioner compared with$3 per annum single and $5 per annum married for non-pensioner contributors. For non-members, the charge for a pensioner is half of the normal charge for ambulance services for other non-members.


Pensioners are transported free of charge.

Unemployment: Country Areas (Question No. 5436)

Mr Barnard asked the Minister for

Labour and National Service, upon notice:

(1)   Has his Department conducted studies to determine the level of hidden unemployment in country areas, apart from the New South Wales Study referred to in the Commonwealth submission in the 1971-72 National Wage Case.

(2)   If so, what are the results of these studies.

(3)   If no studies have been made, will he arrange for studies to be undertaken in each State and the result published as early as possible.

Mr Lynch - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) There was no explicit reference to this matter in the Commonwealth's submission in the 1971-72 National Wage Case. However in an address I delievered to the Ballarat Chamber of Manufacturers on 17th February 1972, I referred to surveys which my Department had conducted in New South Wales country centres with the aim of determining the extent of potential labour supply in these centres.

The surveys have been mainly conducted in conjunction with State authorities and local government bodies and reports on two of them have been published by the New South Wales Department of Decentralisation and Development

(3)   The employment situation in country areas is kept under constant surveillance by my Department. Whether further surveys of potential labour supply are undertaken in the future will be determined by my Department as the need arises.

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