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Thursday, 25 May 1972
Page: 3170


Dr Cass (MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

(1)   What is the average waiting time between application for and receipt of a first social service payment.

(2)   What percentage of initial applications is found on investigation not to justify the receipt of social service payments.

(3)   If social service payments were made within a day or two of the official application, what would be the loss to his Department in terms of the applicants who are proved subsequently to be unqualified to receive the payments they had been receiving pending a decision on their applications.


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

(1)   The average waiting time between application for and receipt of a first social service payment varies according to the nature of the benefit and the circumstances of the case.

In the case of unemployment benefit the period is generally 16 days comprising the 7 days waiting period before eligibility commences to accrue, a further 7 days until the first weekly instalment is due and 2 days for assessment of entitlement and preparation and transmission by post of the cheque. However, should the applicant have been in receipt of benefit during the 12 weeks preceding the date of application, no further waiting period is imposed and the first weekly cheque could be received on the eighth or ninth day after application.

For sickness benefit, the average times are generally comparable with those stated for unemployment benefit although the necessity to enquire into matters affecting eligibility e.g. about sick pay entitlement from employers, tends to increase the investigational period.

When a prima facie entitlement exists but investigations are not fully completed, payment to avoid hardship may be made pending finalisation of enquiries.

(2)   Statistics of the number of unemployment and sickness benefit claims rejected are not maintained. Particularly in the case of unemployment benefit, a significant proportion of the claims lapse because the applicant, having secured or resumed employment or for other reasons, fails to lodge an income statement or other documentation to establish his entitlement.

(3)   Unemployment benefit is ordinarily approved for payment within two working days after the first weekly instalment becomes due. Because not less than 13 weeks is allowed for lodgement of a sickness benefit claim, some payment may be due at the date of application. Departmental procedures provide for specially accelerated action where there is evidence of hardship, but a general relaxation of normal investigational processes would, it is considered, lead to a significant increase in illegal payments. It is not possible to assess the extent of that increase. lifts (Question No. 5794)


Mr Whitlam asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works, upon notice:

(1)   How many lift manufacturers have supplied lifts for Commonwealth buildings in the last 5 years.

(2)   How many different codes would a private builder have been required to observe in installing and operating as many lifts in as many places in the same period.

(3)   What part has the Minister's Department taken in efforts to frame uniform lifts legislation to apply throughout Australia.


Mr Chipp - The Minister for Works has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   Over the past 5 years, 9 lift manufacturers have supplied lifts for the Commonwealth.

(2)   A private builder would have been required to observe 9 sets of lift regulations (i.e. one set for each State or Territory). He would also have been required to observe 9 sets of building regulations which deal with location and construction of lift shafts, and provision for emergency operation of lifts.

(3)   The lift Authorities and the Department of Works are represented on the Standards Association of Australia Committee which recently revised the S.A.A. Lift Code. The authorities in the Northern Territory and the Territory of Papua and New Guinea have accepted the revised S.A.A. Code, 6 other authorities have or are about to issue regulations which generally accept the revised Code and one authority has not taken any, action. Thus, there has been considerable advance towards uniformity of lift regulations.

The Department of Works has acted as Secretariat and is now also represented on the interstate Standing Committee on Uniform Building Regulations, and those portions of building regulations which apply to lift installations have been dealt with by the Committee. Its recommendations are contained in the Australian Model Uniform Building Code which was completed and issued to the administrations for guidance in revisions of their Building Regulations about July 1971.

Electoral: British Migrants from Malta (Question No. 5798)


Dr Klugman asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

How many British citizens originating from Malta have enrolled on the electoral rolls in each of the last 10 years.


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

The required information is not available as the birthplace of electors is not collated.







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