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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 443

Mr Ewen Cameron (INDI, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, upon notice, on 1 5 May 1980:

(1)   Will the Government examine the adoption of rates of payment of pensions to returned prisoners of war equivalent to those paid by the Canadian Government, that is, (a) European theatre, $29.59 per week and (b) Japanese theatre, J73.97 per week.

(2)   Will the Government also examine making medical claims by returned prisoners of war automatic, particularly from Japanese prison camps, instead of insisting on medical reviews.

(3)   Were reports requested by his Department from doctors and camp commandments who returned from Japanese prisoner of war camps; if so, (a) what has happened to these reports and (b) are they still available to his Department in assisting in medical reviews.

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

(1)   and (2) The basis of the Repatriation system has always been to give compensation and medical treatment to veterans for disabilities accepted as being related to service, regardless of where and under what conditions they served. The Government is aware of the systems referred to but is not considering paying special pensions to former prisoners of war as it is not in favour of making special pension provisions for a particular group. The Government has recognised the hardships and deprivations suffered by this group and has extended to them the provision of full free medical and hospital benefits in addition to paying compensation in the form of pensions and medical treatment for any disabilities which the prisoners of war can relate to their service.

(3)   Such reports were not specifically requested. Each claim for pension or benefits is individually investigated and reports from any relevant source are obtained. All medical reports available from prisoner of war camps in respect of individuals are linked on the individual veterans' medical hie, which is available to the independent authorities which determine entitlement and assessment matters. In addition much general information from former prisoners of war is available and is retained in libraries in each State Office of the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

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