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Tuesday, 4 May 1971

Senator GREENWOOD - I am aware of the statement made yesterday by the Victorian Minister for Health, and I am also aware that in some States other than Victoria hospital charges were increased earlier this year. The provision of hospitals and the fixing of charges for hospital treatment are essentially matters for State governments. The Commonwealth's role is to provide assistance by way of benefits to those persons who must undergo hospital treatment. It appears clear in the light of increases in hospital charges in the States that if the Commonwealth's contribution to the hospital benefits scheme is to be as effective as the Commonwealth' Government desires it to be, the whole matter of what the Commonwealth should contribute must be reviewed. A review is being undertaken at present. The new hospital charges in Victoria are not to operate, I think, until 1st August. Accordingly, I hope that a statement on the matter can be made in due course.

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