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Social Welfare Commission - Reports - Period-10 April 1974 to 30 June 1975


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THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

1975 — Parliamentary Paper No. 181

SOCIAL WELFARE COMMISSION

REPORT FOR PERIOD

10 April 1974 to 30 June 1975

Presented pursuant to Statute 4 September 1975

Ordered to be printed 11 September 1975

THE GOVERNMENT PRINTER OF AUSTRALIA

CANBERRA 1976

Printed by Federal Capital Press, Canberra

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Australian Government

Social Welfare Commission

P. O. Box 732,

Queanbeyan, NSW, 2610

My dear Minister,

I am pleased to submit to you the Annual Report 1975 of the Social Welfare Commission.

This report is the first by the Commission since its members were appointed in April, 1974 and covers the period from appointment up to 30 June, 1 975.

The activities and achievements of the Commission during this fifteen month period have been set in the perspective of an analysis of social welfare in Australia.

The Commission itself has realised during this period the need for a major restructuring of social welfare administration not only at the Australian Government level but also between governments and other welfare-providers.

A t present you have referred to the Royal Commission on Australian Govern­ ment Administration the whole question of restructuring the administration of welfare functions within Australian Government departments.

It is in this context that the Commission views the Prime Minister's announce­ ment of 5 June that it should be abolished under later legislation and its functions carried out by a policy bureau.

This report is thus something more than a mere recording of past initiatives: it is also an indication of issues and problems which need to be resolved in the future to secure the well-being of ail Australians.

Senator, the Hon. J.M. Wheeldon, Minister for Social Security and Repatriation and Compensation, Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600

Yours sincerely,

(Marie Coleman) Chairman

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Contents

F o re w o rd ...................................................................................................................... 3

The C om m issioners .................................................................................................. 6

Part 1 In tro d u c tio n ............................................................................................. 9

Establishment of the Commission ......................................................... 9

Plan of Report ........................................................................................ 9

Role of the Commission ......................................................................... 9

Priorities .................................................................................................. 11

Part 2 Social W elfare in A u s tra lia ................................................................... 13

Changing Attitudes to Social Welfare .................................................... 13

Broad Strategies for Government Intervention ..................................... 14

Implications for Current Policies ......................................................... 15

The States ................................................................................................. 17

Local Government .................................................................................. 19

Voluntary Agencies .................................................................................. 19

Regionalism ............................................................................................ 20

Income Security ....................................................................................... 20

Welfare Services ....................................................................................... 24

Manpower ................................................................................................. 25

Research and Planning ............................................................................. 26

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Part 3 Report on Commission Activities 27

Commissioners ........................................................................................ 27

Commission Staffing .............................................................................. 27

Regional Social Planning ......................................................................... 28

Family Services ........................................................................................ 29

State Social Policy Planning Units .......................................................... 32

Aged and Handicapped People ............................................................... 33

Social Welfare Manpower ......................................................................... 34

Economic and Statistical Aspects .......................................................... 35

Ethnic Groups ........................................................................................ 37

Natural Disasters ........................................................................................ 38

Research Policy and Program.................................................................... 39

Publications ............................................................................................. 40

P art 4 T h e F u tu re o f th e C om m ission .......................................................... 43

A p pendices ................................................................................................................. 45

Appendix 1 Social Welfare Commission Act ................. 47

Appendix 2 Prime Minister's Address ..................................................... 55

Appendix 3 Research Projects ............................................................... 57

Appendix 4 A.A.P. Maps ......................................................................... 59

Appendix 5 Commission Recommendations ........................................... 62

Appendix 6 Commission Representation ................................................ 64

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The Commissioners

MRS MARIE COLEMAN, B.A., Dip.Soc.Stud.

Full-time Chairman.

MR FRED HILL

Deputy-Chairman, was First Assistant Director-General, Rehabilitation Services Division in the Department of Social Security. His work involves the care and facilities for the aged and handicapped children and adults.

PROFESSOR RAY G. BROWN, PhD., B.A., M.Soc.Sci., Dip.Soc.Stud.

Professor of Sociology and Social Administration, School of Social Sciences, Flinders University of South Australia. Adelaide, South Australia.

MRS SADIE M. CANNING, M.B.E., S.R.N.

Matron, Leonora District Hospital. Leonora, Western Australia.

MRS EDNA R. CHAMBERLAIN, M.A. (Hons), B. Com., Dip.Soc.Stud., A.I.H.A.

Head, Department of Social Work, University of Queensland. Brisbane, Queensland.

PROFESSOR C. PERCY HARRIS, Ph.D., M.Econ., B.Com. (Hons).

Professor of Economics and Head of the Department of Commerce and Economics, James Cook University. Townsville, Queensland.

MR TOM ROPER, B.A. (Hons), M.P.,

Member for Brunswick West, Legislative Assembly, Victoria. Melbourne, Victoria.

REV KEITH D. SEAMAN, B.A., LL.B.

Superintendent, Adelaide Central Methodist Mission, Adelaide, South Australia.

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MR GREGORY T.A. SULLIVAN, Q.C., B.A,

Practising Barrister, NSW Bar, Federal courts and the ACT. Sydney, New South Wales.

MR JAMES COMERFORD

Mr Comerford, nominated as the A.C.T.U. representative on the Commission, has strong trade union links going back to 1922 when he arrived in Australia from Scotland and began work as a coal miner at Kurri Kurri in the Northern New South Wales coalfields. Mr Comerford recently retired as Northern Miners President and is now a free lance writer on industrial political subjects. He is particularly interested in the development

of occupational social welfare benefits for industrial workers.

MR GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS, LL.B.

Chairman of the Australian Greek Welfare Society and honorary general secretary of the Greek Orthodox Community in Victoria. He is a lawyer and lecturer at the Royal Insti­ tute of Technology in Melbourne.

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PART 1

Introduction

Establishment of the Commission

The Social Welfare Commission was established by the Australian Government as a statutory body by the Social Welfare Commission Act which was assented to on 27 November, 1973 (Appendix A). Nine members of the Commission were appointed by the Executive Council on 10 April, 1974.

The Commission had been preceded by the Interim Committee of the Social Welfare Commission which held its inaugural meeting on 3 May, 1973.

Plan of Report

The Report is presented in four parts. Part One is the introduction, which sets out the role and functions of the Commission. Part Two presents an overview of social welfare in Australia, with particular reference to the planning and co-ordination of welfare services. Because of the importance of income security, special mention is made of the need for a more rational approach to program development. Part Three is a report of the Commis­ sion's activities during the period April 1974-June 1975. Part Four makes a brief comment on the future of the Commission.

Role of the Commission

The functions of the Commission are set out in Section 14 of the Act, which says:

"(a) to ascertain, and report to the Minister on, the social welfare needs o f the community and to make recommendations to the Minister in respect o f those needs;

(b) to make recommendations to the Minister for furthering the achievement o f a nationally integrated social welfare plan; including —

(i) recommendations o f priorities in relation to social welfare programs;

(ii) recommendations for the development o f social welfare programs on a regional basis with localised administration;

(Hi) recommendations for participation in the implementation o f social welfare programs by representatives o f the persons or agencies to be assisted;

(iv) recommendations for the co-ordination o f the social welfare activities or organisations, including State, local government and voluntary organisations, involved in the provision o f social welfare;

(v) recommendations for the adjustment, from time to time, o f social welfare programs in the light o f changing community circumstances and attitudes and the state o f the economy; and

(vi) recommendations for avoiding the duplication o f social welfare pro­ grams and for promoting the maximum efficiency and effectiveness o f the community social welfare effort;

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(c) to estimate, and report to the Minister on, the likely cost o f proposed social welfare programs and to advise the Minister on the relative priorities to be given to the implementation o f these programs;

(d) to keep social welfare programs under constant review and to re-assess and evaluate those programs in the light o f experience;

(e) to propose to the Minister measures to give all organisations, including State, local government and voluntary organisations, concerned with social welfare access to available information and technical assistance;

(f) to consider, and report to the Minister on, measures designed to provide skilled staff for the successful implementation o f social welfare programs; and

(g) such other functions in connection with social welfare programs as the Minister approves."

The Commission is obliged to make such reports to the Minister as he requires and as well may present reports on matters which the Commission determines. The Minister is obliged under the Act to table in Parliament such reports as soon as practicable.

Prior to the formation of the interim Committee social welfare planning had comman­ ded a comparatively low Australian Government priority. Its appointment, and subse­ quently that of the Commission itself, represented a significant increase in the impor­ tance attached to rational policy development.

Traditionally, the function of a statutory body has been specifically service-delivery with policy formulation remaining with the Minister and Department. The Commission is one of a number of statutory bodies set up under both Liberal and Labor Governments which have policy functions. Examples of this new type are the Universities Commission, the Schools Commission and the Hospitals and Health Services Commission.

Where the Social Welfare Commission differs from these bodies is that it has a purely advisory role and lacks executive powers or the responsibility for running programs. This important difference is frequently overlooked when comparisons are made. For example, the Schools Commission reports to the Government on the needs of schools. The Govern­ ment considers the report and the decisions made are then in most cases returned to the Schools Commission for program administration. In contrast, the Social Welfare Com­ mission, on such a subject as Aged Persons Housing, submits its report and the adminis­ tration of any programs which result is the responsibility not of the Commission but of the Department or Departments designated by the Government.

As an independent statutory body at least two of the Commissions — the Hospitals and Health Services Commission and the Social Welfare Commission — are placed in an unusual position. On the one hand, they are invited to make public policy recommendations to the Government and on the other, to be part of a broader policy formulation process prior to and after publication. Much of the Commission's day-to-day function is in offering advice on proposals and programs with a social welfare component.

There is one other important difference between the role of the Social Welfare Com­ mission and that of the other policy Commissions. In the welfare area there is a range of Australian Government authorities responsible for policy and administration of welfare programs both directly at the Federal level and through aid to State, local government and non-government welfare agencies. Under administrative arrangements the Commis­ sion is directly responsible to the Minister for Social Security although Ministerial control

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for those other Departments does not lie with the Minister for Social Security. The task of co-ordination where there are competing and overlapping responsibilities is a large one.

Priorities

In setting any framework and establishing work priorities the Commission is required to respond to —

• Government policy and initiatives

• Commission determined priorities

• Community interests.

At the Federal Government level there are a number of terminating enquiries all touching on the development of social welfare and initiated or expanded by the Labor Government since it took office. These include:

Enquiry into Repatriation System (J. Toose)

National Superannuation Committee of Inquiry (Professor K.J. Hancock)

National Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme (J. Woodhouse)

Taxation Review Committee (J.A. Asprey)

Poverty Enquiry (Professor R. Henderson)

Australian Labor Market Training (D. Cochrane)

It is the statutory function of the Commission to evaluate the welfare implications arising from these reports and to advise the Government on priorities and the best method of co-ordinated implementation. The reports cover wide and sometimes over­ lapping areas from differing perspectives. Until all the reports have been received the Commission feels it would be inappropriate to recommend on any major restructuring of the present welfare and benefits systems. This has not prevented the Commission sug­ gesting changes where these do not conflict with such longer term restructuring.

Equally, it is the responsibility of the Commission to evaluate and advise the Govern­ ment about welfare programs currently administered or proposed by other Australian Government agencies, as well as by the Department of Social Security. Examples under­ taken to date are the Australian Assistance Plan, Family Law Bill, and the Child Care Program. Advice has been sought and given on a wide variety of welfare related proposals.

The problems associated with rationalising policies and programs and assigning priorities in the welfare field when these are administered by such a range of Australian Government agencies is dealt with in more detail in Part 2 of this report.

Policies and programs which are the responsibility of State and Local Government and voluntary organisations and community groups, impinge upon the kind of advice the Commission must give to the Federal Government in terms of planning, priority setting and the integration of programs in the welfare field. Regular consultation and co­ operation with these bodies is therefore an essential part of the Commission's charter. As a first step to assist State Departments concerned with social welfare, the Commis­ sion recommended specific-purpose grants to each of the State and Territory Depart­ ments to enable' the establishment of social policy planning units. Funds have been made available by the Australian Government to the States for this purpose. Likewise the Commission recommended a special grant to Local Government Associations to employ staff to stimulate interest in developing welfare services; and an increase in the grants to the Australian Council for Social Service with earmarked grants to State Councils.

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Forward planning and evaluation implies the availability of funds for research which only governments have the resources to provide. The Commission's capacity to participate in, encourage and support research is clearly of vital importance to enable it to review existing programs and to develop new policy which is responsive to community needs.

Unfortunately, funds for the Commission research program did not become available until December 1974. This has considerably hampered the Commission's ability to func tion effectively and to develop appropriate mechanisms for setting both its own priorities and assessing community needs.

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PART 2

Social Welfare in Australia

Changing Attitudes to Social Welfare

Although there is no universally accepted definition of social welfare, there seems three ways of looking at a philosophy of social welfare.

The first sees social welfare in a residual or marginal role in social development. Such a 'laissez faire' philosophy places the onus for survival and success on each individual whose needs must be met almost wholly by his or her own efforts or through the efforts of the family.

Intervention, particularly by government at any level, only occurs when the individual or the family has failed. Social welfare assistance is available only for the failures, the poor and other dependent groups who are seen as a separate and abnormal component of the population. Such people are seen as problems for society, and the objects of public or private charity. The Social Welfare Commission rejects this limited view.

A second position sees a broader function for social welfare institutions as necessary for the efficient functioning of society. Education, public health and social security are major areas of public activity but as adjuncts to the economy. Social needs for the bulk of the population will be met on the basis of merit, or achievement with assistance mainly through fiscal welfare (through taxation systems — child allowances, medical care costs,

housing subsidies, etc.) and occupational welfare (pensions, subsidised housing, medical care, etc. related to occupational status and period of employment). Such an emphasis on achievement, fiscal and occupational welfare has over time a major income and services redistribution effect in favour of the successful groups in the population. Social welfare is

not intended to ensure the equal well being of all members of the society.

A third position, and one supported by the Social Welfare Commission regards social welfare as a basic integrated institution in society ensuring not only the provision to all of primary material needs, but also genuine opportunities for social and cultural satisfac­ tion.

Society is responsible for the well being of all its members both through the provision of universal services, education, health, transport, communications and selective services, welfare, housing, pensions, counselling services and the like.

Social Welfare rather than an afterthought becomes a positive agent for change ensur­ ing a high level of universal services both quantatively and qualitatively as well as selective services, positively discriminating in favour of particular disadvantaged groups.

Social policy is therefore intended to bring about improvement in the standard and quality of life for all individuals and to ensure a redistribution of resources within the society.

Such a philosophy is clearly not easy to put into effect and the problem for govern­ ment is in finding the right balance between the integrative role of universal services and the social equality role of selective developments.

The aims of present Government's social welfare policy have moved strongly in the direction of this third view and can be summarised as follows:

(a) To reduce significantly disparities in the standard of living and work towards the

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eradication of poverty.

(b) To create an environment in which every individual has the opportunity to devel­ op his unique potential.

(c) To provide various supports to those individuals who, through no fault of their own, need special assistance.

(d) To provide an equitable distribution of services through a system which involves active participation o f the community in both planning and provision.

Broad Strategies for Government Intervention

The Australian Government has, in line with the wider view of social welfare mentioned previously, been effecting a change from selective programs which assisted those "in need" as a separate and special part of the population to more universal programs aimed at reducing the extent of disadvantage to assist the community in general. Medibank serves as an example. Rather than offering partial assistance to selected categories of "the poor" through payment of private hospital and medical funds fees, with the consequent problem of limited take up (a high proportion of those eligible were unaware of their rights) and the gap between cost and reimbursement still to be met, Medibank covers all Australians for normal costs. The distinction between the assisted and the rest has been removed.

Similarly the education program has been broadly based. Grants or access to grants have been made available to all but a few schools. Tertiary fees have been abolished for all, not only those in need.

However, these programs are administered or added to, so as to ensure that a priority is placed on those in need — the disadvantaged school program, the means-tested Tertiary Education Allowance scheme.

Added to this has been a positive commitment to social welfare as a key part of social development. Through such programs as the Australian Assistance Plan and the Commun­ ity Health Program people have been asked, indeed encouraged, to determine the type and level of services their communities require and to co-operate with Government at all levels in administering local services.

The Commission sees each component: universal services, selective discrimination and community participation as crucial for future social welfare development. To believe this, however, is not to demand as a consequence that everything should be done at once.

Once a decision is made on the priority of social welfare expenditure vis a vis other Government programs (and this is a political decision) decisions must be made on what proportion of resources are to be concentrated on the poor and what proportion should be devoted to different services geared to the wider population who may not be even at risk of becoming poor.

In view of general suggestions of budgetary restraint, the current stage of development of many major social programs, and the fact that a number of the key income-related reports are still incomplete, the Commission believes that any new programs should be directed towards particular target groups, to overcome obvious deficiencies, rather than be of a general nature. Further, there is a need to consolidate existing initiatives and evaluate the effectiveness of what is presently being undertaken.

In assessing welfare programs at least six criteria must be used: need, respect for the individual, fairness, prevention, target effectiveness, and economic efficiency.

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Need

While it is vital to ask why a family or individual is in need, it is of equal importance to recognise the welfare implications of need. This criterion recognises that people who cannot work — the aged, the disabled, the single parent, the sick, and other disadvantaged groups must be assured a minimum acceptable standard of living.

Respect for the Individual

Programs should strive for respect, equity and fairness for the individual and should as far as possible reflect respect for pluralism and diversity of values and life styles.

Fairness

Programs should strive for uniform ity in standards and aim for the elimination of discrepancies in treatment. For instance, compensation through tax deductions gives more to the rich than to the poor.

Prevention

While the State has the responsibility to meet needs as mentioned in criterion one, programs should where possible assist those in need to become independent. For instance, the unemployed person should receive an adequate benefit plus assistance through em­ ployment advice and retraining.

Target Effectiveness

Money spent on social welfare programs should end up adequately aiding the target group and not those with less urgent needs.

Economic Efficiency

This implies effective attainment of program goals through the least amount of expend­ iture and resource allocation. '

In applying these criteria it is essential that programs have clearly specified objectives against which performance can be evaluated.

Implications for Current Policies

Administration

Until recently the development of social welfare policy and practices ranked low on the national order of priorities. The Federal Government provided direct cash benefits to individuals through pensions, scholarships, medical insurance and the like, together with various subsidy schemes such as Aged Persons Housing and Home Help, but did very little

in terms of providing services or expertise. State Governments operated a patchwork of services with varying levels of co-operation with voluntary agencies organised either on a state or local basis. Local Government's involvement varied greatly both between and within States and involved few initiatives in providing welfare services.

Insofar as it existed at all, social planning was concerned at the State and agency level with program or project delivery. A t the Federal level, payments of cash benefits were subject to the vagaries of fiscal policy.

There was no real attempt to take a broad look at the system to decide whether existing benefits and programs adequately met people's needs. There was not much effort devoted to the co-ordination of programs and services to eliminate duplication of effort.

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Nonetheless a wide variety of social welfare related programs developed and these have been dramatically expanded during the last three years.

While the constitutional and practical competence of the Australian Government in the welfare field is limited, there are a large number of authorities and departments which do have an active interest.

Ministerial control for the wide range of Australian Departments concerned with social policy does not lie, however, with the Minister for Social Security or even as he now is, the Minister for Social Security and Repatriation and Compensation. What follows are some key examples.

The Government has determined that the National Compensation Scheme which will cover cash benefits for a very wide range of individuals for compensatable injuries and sickness will be administered by the Department of Repatriation and Compensation which has its own policy division. In addition, the Department of Repatriation and Compensation has responsibility for the Repatriation System of cash benefits, health services and welfare services.

The Department of Social Security has responsibility for a wide range of cash benefits to individuals, though it can be anticipated that the new compensation scheme would absorb responsibility for benefits in respect of invalidity, sickness and death of a bread­ winner. The Department of Social Security would still continue to have responsibility for pensions for aged persons, for child endowment, for unemployment benefits, for payments to unmarried women with children and to deserted wives.

The Department maintains an extensive social work service providing personal counsel­ ling. It provides a vocational rehabilitation system and it administers a wide variety of grants programs to support community organisations to provide services to handicapped children, the aged, migrants and so forth.

The Department of Labor and Immigration administers a number of schemes concerned with unemployment and re-training and which can be accurately described as having welfare aspects. These include the Regional Employment Development Scheme and the National Employment and Re-training Scheme. It has been suggested, for example that the R.E.D. Scheme should be used to fund a wide variety of welfare projects.

It should be emphasised that levels of cash benefits to individuals will depend on which one of these three departments makes the payments.

The Attorney-General's Department has responsibility under the Marriage powers of the Constitution for providing grants to community organisations to provide counselling to families in respect of marital problems. With the passage of the Family Law Bill, the Attorney-General's Department is establishing its own system of social welfare counsel­ ling with officers attached to the Family Courts. These officers will be providing family counselling on marital matters and will also have statutory responsibilities in respect of the custody of children of marriages. They will not, however, have any power in respect of the custody of children of non-legitimated unions.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is currently responsible for support of the Interim Committee of the Children's Commission (which will shortly become the Children's Commission) whose terms of reference empower it to provide an extremely broad range of services designed to assist children. These include full-day care, part-day care, after school care and occasional care programs for children, together with early childhood education. This Committee has been asked and is seriously considering support­ ing community agencies to provide foster care and full-time residential care; that is to say,

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care as a total alternative to care by parents. Counselling to families may also be funded. Special services are also intended for handicapped children.

The Schools Commission also funds either through State Government instrumentalities, or independentally, a variety of specific projects including after-school care for children, home-school contact, community newsletters and a major special education program for handicapped children.

The Department of Aboriginal Affairs administers itself, or funds, special programs concerned with all aspects of Aboriginal life including numerous welfare, educational and health projects.

The Community Health Program administered by the Hospitals and Health Services Commission has funded a wide variety of projects with welfare aspects such as emergency accommodation for homeless women and programs by State Governments to provide accommodation and hostels for the handicapped.

The Department of Urban and Regional Development through its Area Improvement Program has provided funds for services which include day care for children, State Government Institutions for adolescents and other projects with welfare implications.

The Department of Tourism and Recreation is concerned with funding recreation programs, many of a welfare nature, aimed at adolescents and young children.

The Department of The Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory have as part of their operations the social welfare functions elsewhere carried out by the States.

This large but not exhaustive list of Australian Government agencies outlines the range of Ministerial Departments and Statutory Authorities which have both a policy formula­ tion and executive function impinging on social welfare. Equally a significant number of Ministers, while not primarily designated as having a welfare portfolio, can be said to have a considerable interest in social welfare.

It is quite oossible, and it has occurred, for different sections of the Government to be involved in considerable overlap of policy and administrative functions and indeed to operate separate programs which in their social welfare thrust are inconsistent and contra­ dictory.

The Report on Compensation and Rehabilitation presented to the Australian Govern­ ment by Mr. Justice Woodhouse strongly recommended the establishment of a co-ordin­ ating welfare policy department at the Federal Government level. The Commission endorsed this proposal and has made written submissions to the Royal Commission enquiring into Australian Government Administration on the subject of restructuring.

If Australian Government initiatives in social welfare are to be successful, it is absolute­ ly essential that such a restructuring occurs. Ministers and their Departments will have to surrender some of their policy powers if a coherent approach is to be maintained. Similar­ ly a single Government decision must, before getting to the irrevocable stage, be examined to ensure that it fits into the developing pattern of services.

The question of restructuring is further examined in Part 4 of this report when the future of the Commission is discussed.

The States

The central importance of State Governments in the planning of statutory welfare services must be recognised. This is not only a question of constitutional powers but also a practical recognition of States' current activities.

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Another federal system, Canada, offers an example which Australia ought to consider. Perhaps because the Canadian Constitution gives the central government fewer powers in relation to social welfare there is more evidence of what can be termed "co-operative federalism".

The Federal role is largely one of providing funds and consulting services to the Prov­ inces and it is significant that there is no federal attempt to provide parallel social services such as family counselling when these are provided by provincial or local govern­ ment.

The most encouraging feature of the Canadian system is the co-operation which exists between the Federal and Provincial Governments in terms of consultation and co-ordin­ ation. It seems possible that a similar measure of co-operation across the whole health- welfare spectrum, can be achieved in Australia.

Too often in the past, an Australian Government authority has articulated a policy and then invited the States to co-operate if they wished to receive money to carry out specific service functions. In practice this has often committed State funds to what are Federal ideas, lessening uncommitted funds for State initiatives as well as resulting in differing levels of take up state by state. The Commission would prefer to see strategies developed jointly by State and Federal officials.

The Commission has attempted to carry out co-operative planning with the States both by assisting the States in developing social policy planning units and by involving the States in major enquiries, for instance, social welfare manpower and family services.

With regard to family services, the Commission accepts that the States have the primary statutory competence as well as the practical experience and that as a conse­ quence, Australian Government interest and intervention must be on a co-operative basis.

Such co-operation must begin at the initial policy development stage. The Commission's Inquiry into Family Services, for example is being undertaken by a committee which includes one State Director of Community Welfare (present in his own right but with his Government's permission) and another senior State Officer nominated by his State Minister.

This is not to deny the Australian Government an initiative in areas of social welfare policy. Firstly it can act as a standard-setter both in the territories and by funding demonstration programs in co-operation with the States.

Secondly, it ought to recognise that funds for State welfare programs are limited in the same way that State education and health programs once were and that improvements to a large extent will depend on Australian Government funding.

Such welfare sector funding cannot be separated from the notion of co-operative planning.

The transfer of moneys will need to be via block grants to retain flexibility, while the spending agents will need to conform to the objectives and priorities of the sponsor if the program is to be "effective". For the system to operate most efficiently, broad sector funding needs to replace the current narrow "specific purpose" grants, while the different tiers of Government w ill need to agree on objectives and priorities, and co-oper­ ate on the evaluation, review and planning involved.

It may not be feasible to move quickly to broad sector funding (e.g. single block grants for welfare) as the co-operative planning pre-requisite not only depends on political agreement but also on adequate planning resources, particularly personnel. Nevertheless, it may be possible to consider block grants covering a wider scope than some existing

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specific purpose grants, and defining their scope through objectives and priorities.

An example, if not of sector funding but at least of a movement in that direction, can be found in the community health program. While not covering the entire sector, the community health program does cover a considerable sub-sector, namely, the provision of personal services other than through inpatient beds, and has been undertaken on the basis of Australian Government — State Government co-operation.

If co-operation is to occur more frequently some Australian Government programs should be reconsidered.

Local Government

Consequent upon the public debate about the planning of welfare services which has emerged around the Australian Assistance Plan there has been considerable agitation in some quarters for an increased role in providing welfare services for local government.

There is considerable variation between States as mentioned in Part III of this report both as to the strength of that agitation, the actual performance of Local Government and the attitude of State Governments. A full description of the activities of local Govern­ ment in welfare will hopefully emerge from the Commission of Inquiry into Poverty to

underpin any recommendations made in that report about the future role of local govern­ ment. In any case it will be necessary for both State and Australian governments to reach a mutually agreed position as to whether local government will provide welfare services on a mandatory basis or not..

Voluntary Agencies

The past twelve months appear to have been characterised by a worsening of the financial position of many of the traditional voluntary welfare service agencies, and an increasing pressure on governments to contribute more extensively to their upkeep. The Commission while sympathetic to these problems is most concerned that the Australian Government should respond in a manner which is consistent with some coherent policy mutually agreed by Australian and State governments.

The Commission believes that considerable resources in the coming year should be devoted to methods of assisting voluntary agencies re-examine their structures and functions. It may be desirable to develop special training programs for administrators in the voluntary welfare field as well as advice on accounting and other procedures.

Discussions are underway with this in mind. ·

Within the voluntary welfare field the role of self help and consumer groups is also increasing in importance. Sometimes this is in the social advocacy role and sometimes in

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the service delivery role.

In addition, although some voluntary agencies report difficulties in attracting fund raising volunteers, there seems to be a considerable volume of support for what might be called volunteerism which arises from the desire of many people to seek involvement in activities which seem to them to have social worth. With the increasing professionalisation of service delivery, whether in the statutory or voluntary area, volunteerism should be encouraged as a means of enabling citizen participation in welfare service delivery. Future Government policies should give close attention to the economic costs of supporting this movement.

Regionalism

There has been increasing attention and interest on the part of both Australian and State Governments towards planning on a regional basis for the delivery of social welfare services. A t the same time, a number of non-government welfare agencies have begun to reassess their service delivery pattern. It is evident that there will be problems, however, for some agencies concerned with highly specialised services or small target populations,

e.g. ethnic groups in trying to plan and deliver services on a regional basis.

In order to produce services more responsive to the particular needs of each region, it will be necessary for organisations such as State and Federal Governments to devolve a further degree of independent decision making to their senior officers at the regional level. This, however, will not automatically make the service accountable to the people of the region unless adequate consultative mechanisms are also established. Furthermore, the process will take time to become effective.

Income Security

Fundamental to the alleviation of poverty is an adequate income support program giving all families and individuals enough money to provide them with a standard of living commensurate with the country's overall wealth. Such a program in itself will not solve all the problems of the low income families — there is a need for integrated services to ensure that these families, once receiving a satisfactory income, can use it to operate the market system as ably as other families — but it is a prerequisite to any solution and therefore deserves high priority.

The 1973 National Income Survey conducted by the Bureau of Statistics for the Poverty Enquiry, provides evidence of considerable 'poverty' in Australia. Although different definitions of income poverty, and different formulae for estimating relative family costs, might influence an interpretation of the data, it would appear that the following are the major disadvantaged groups:

(i) Aged males (single): Family units in which the head was male, not at present married, and aged 65 and over;

(ii) Aged females (single): Family units in which the head was female, and aged 60 and over;

(iii) Aged couples: Family units in which the head was at present married, and aged 65 and over;

(iv) Large Intact Families: Family units in which the head was at present married and where there were four or more dependent children;

(v) Fatherless Families: Family units in which the head was a lone female and there were one or more dependent children;

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(vi) Motherless Families: Family units in which the head was a lone male and there were one or more dependent children;

(vii) Single females: Family units consisting of a single non-aged female without any dependent children;

(viii) Sick or Invalid: Family units in which the head had been out of full-time work for eight weeks or more in the last year, the main reasons being sickness, accident or invalidity;

(ix) Unemployed: Family units in which the head had been out of full-time work for eight weeks or more in the last year, the main reason being inability to find work;

(x) Recent Migrants: Family units in which the head arrived in Australia after June Ί966 and was not born in the United Kingdom, U.S.A., Canada, New Zealand or South Africa;

(xi) Aboriginals: Family units in which the head regarded him/herself as 'of Aborig­ inal origin'.

The picture of the poverty problem as described in the Poverty Report is, however, rather limited; there is overseas evidence that over time people move in and out of poverty to a large degree. In fact, incomes are known to fluctuate during the life cycle and people behave with the knowledge of such fluctuations in mind; for example, they save for retirement.

Programs aimed primarily at alleviating poverty need to be based on:

(i) ensuring people are prepared as far as is reasonable for predictable income variations;

(ii) providing assistance to maximise the speed with which people recover from income reductions to poverty levels; and

(iii) guaranteeing a minimum income during these times of income reduction.

The Australian Government has made a considerable number of moves to improve its income support to disadvantaged groups and to low income earners generally, and has initiated inquiries to recommend further action within the next 12 months. For example: —

(i) The Government has taken action to amend the income tax scale to the advantage of low income groups. It has cut taxes and restructured the scale of benefit for those most in need, and it has introduced a tax rebate for low income earners. Some moves have been made to counter the regressive nature of taxation conces­ sions, for instance, the reduction in the education allowance and scaling the new home loan interest rate concession. As yet no major action has been taken to systematically vary taxes as the average income increases, though a committee of inquiry (Matthews Committee) has recently reported to the Government on this possibility.

(ii) The Government has attempted to affect wages and salaries, the main instrument of income distribution, to the advantage of the low income earner. It has interv­ ened in the national wage case before the Arbitration Commission for substantial rises in the minimum wage, for equal pay, for the extension of the minimum wage to females and most recently for quarterly cost-of-living adjustments.

(iii) Considerable increases in pensions and benefits have been made in the last 12 months so that at the time of the last increase the basic pension was very close to the target of 25% of average earnings. Eligibility regulations have been eased

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in several respects and allowances increased,

(iv) New benefits for certain unemployed persons have been introduced which are substantially higher than the basic unemployment and sickness benefit. These are associated either with employment training or with compensation for specific Government economic policy. ■

(v) A new weekly benefit of $10.00 per week has been introduced for handicapped children.

(vi) Student education allowances including living away from home allowances have been increased substantially;

(vii) Special loan funds are being established (associated with the Department of Housing and Construction and Aboriginal Affairs) to give low income families access to liquidity not previously available to them.

(viii) The Government has introduced into the Parliament the National Compensation Bill to provide generous no-fault compensation for all persons in the event of injury or illness;

(ix) Further inquiries ace underway in several other areas of income security (e.g. Commission of Enquiry into Poverty, the Industries Assistance Commission examination of fluctuations in rural incomes, Superannuation Inquiry, Repat­ riation Inquiry).

Despite all this activity there are still major inadequacies in the income security system. These inadequacies include:—

(i) Certain categories of families who do not appear eligible for special assistance within the range of benefits now available. In particular, these are: —

• large intact families on lower incomes where the father is not eligible for unemployment or sickness benefit. (Child endowment is not sufficient to make up for the extra cost of having a large number of children).

• motherless families. These have access to special benefit only if in dire need.

• certain migrant families whose length of residence is not sufficient to make them eligible for a pension or benefit.

• deserted wives who must first take maintenance action before receiving benefit.

(ii) Certain times when the benefits are not available such as the first week of unem­ ployment or sickness, and times when the benefit or allowance is not sufficient for the cost of unpredictable events (funeral costs, cost of accommodation movements, cost of large bills, etc.).

(iii) The inadequacy of existing emergency relief systems.

(iv) Certain individuals who seem to miss out on benefits because of lack of knowl­ edge, the stigma attached to means-tested benefits or through the rigidity of some bureaucratic methods.

(v) The level of pension or benefit which is not always associated with the particular costs of certain groups, or their particular problems. For example, children's allowances are clearly insufficient to meet the cost of keeping a child, especially when the pension plus allowance is the sum total of a family's income.

(vi) The growing confusion in the principles of income security programs which vary,

22

without obvious reason other than lack of co-ordination, from means-tested benefits to universal flat rate benefits to universal income-related benefits.

Clearly priority needs to be given to overcoming the first five areas of inadequacy noted above, preferably in such a way as to lead to an integrated, rational, income security system. There are, in broad terms, three ways of doing this.

The first is to retain a basically means-tested system introducing means-tested benefits for those categories of families who are not currently eligible for a Government-guaranteed minimun income, and by increasing benefits and allowances, relaxing eligibility regulations generally, and backing the system up by an easily accessible emergency relief program. This is the system advocated by the Social Welfare Commission in its reports, "Review o f

the interim Report o f the Commission o f Inquiry into Poverty" and "Emergency Relief", as initial measures before the Government embarks on a major new system which could arise from the final Henderson report and the reports on Compensation (Justice Wood- house), Superannuation (Professor Hancock), and Repatriation (Justice Toose). Clearly, such a system retains considerable inadequacies, particularly with respect to possible low participation rates through stigma or lack of knowledge.

The second system is to use extensive, universal, flat rate benefits. This is the "tax credit" system, a negative income tax method. For certain family categories, a high benefit is paid, relative to the family size but not to its income; for all other families a lower benefit under the same principle is paid. Thus, the aged, single parent families, widows, sick, invalid, etc. will all receive benefits at least as much as current benefits but without a means test. All other families will receive less money, but certainly more than the existing child endowment. The redistribution of income effected would be to the

advantage of the poor.

The third system is to use insurance principles so that benefits are primarily based on "compensating" individuals and families for events which affect their income. Thus, there are earnings-related benefits for sickness, injury, age, unemployment, childbirth, widow­ hood, orphans, etc. and reasonable minimum income benefits for persons born with disabilities or who have no earned income at the time a particular event takes place.

Choosing between these systems is a difficult process where there are competing advantages and costs. The Commission is presently funding a research project in which a methodology for evaluation is being developed. The optimal system, if such exists, will have a reasonable minimum income, with one hundred percent take-up rate, an acceptable income distribution, and will maintain optimum economic growth. A t the same time, however, there are extraneous factors to take into account (such as the history of pensions, or the Constitutional restrictions, or other legal factors) which lim it the extent of any so-called rational approach.

The Government at this time has to consider immediate and medium-term priorities. The immediate priority is to provide adequate income support for those in greatest financial need. The proposals made already by the Commission would go somewhere towards meeting this priority. Ideally, the Commission would agree with a more universal system to give families a greater guarantee of adequate minimum income, but further analysis of the ecqnomic effects of such a system with its considerable costs is necessary.

At this stage, the Commission does not support the insurance principle for an income security system. The minimum income guarantee in such a system is uncertain, the income distribution effected is unclear (and possibly is more inequitable than the current distrib­ ution) and the cost enormous. In a time of some economic uncertainty, such a system cannot be supported.

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A further discussion of the Commission's activities in this area can be found in Part 3 of this report.

Welfare Services

Income Security policies must be accompanied by a wide range of social services — support and rehabilitation, training, counselling and other aids — if they are to be succes­ sful. To bring people into employment for example — whether they simply have been unemployed for a period or whether they are people who are partially disabled — effective counselling, training, job placement and sometimes homemaker services are required. To persons suffering from a physical or mental handicap, rehabilitation and support services are called for.

Welfare services should not be seen as available only to the poor, but accessible to all who require support, counselling, etc. Marriage counselling is one such service, family planning another, though in the latter case fees to cover costs may be charged to the more affluent.

For a number of reasons, it is not possible to review services in the same way as income policies. Firstly, income policies are considered on an Australia-wide basis whereas services must be particularly suited to the individuals concerned and consequently possess a considerable degree of flexibility.

Secondly, while the Australian Government is the key to income policies, welfare serv­ ices are developed and provided by all tiers of government and voluntary agencies.

In general, a review of services seems to require a greater practical sense of judgement, considerable knowledge of society and it has to include, more than anything else, an evaluation of administrative systems.

Major considerations for assessing social welfare services are: —

• coverage: services should enable those in genuine need to be helped more generously;

• fairness: people in similar circumstances would be treated similarly; those in most need would receive most assistance;

• cost: attention must be directed to programs that do not raise costs and where existing services are expensive and ineffective.

As previously mentioned, the social welfare system in Australia is a diverse array of services, utilities and agencies with consequent fragmentation of authority and resources. The result is that services are not comprehensive and are inadequate in meeting the needs of Australians. Material prepared for the Commission of Enquiry into Poverty has documented the effect of such a system on the poor.

These considerations reflect the importance of administration when receiving service provisions. Although the Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration has undertaken to pinpoint existing deficiencies it will not be examining in depth the whole range of Australian Government provided services, let alone State and other services.

A comprehensive evaluation of existing services is not possible nor practicable although a number of questions and possibilities have to be considered which have been clustered for ease of understanding: —

• Is the level and quality of services, rehabilitation, counselling and treatment facilities adequate? Are the measures designed to facilitate the movement of individuals and

24

families adequate? What improvements should be made?

• Would it be possible to co-ordinate better the counselling, training, placement, supportive and rehabilitative efforts of several agencies involved, notably the Depart­ ment of Labor and Immigration; Department of Social Security; State, municipal and local services?

e Which order of government and control will have the determining voice in establish­ ing the several levels involved in this system — the level of universal allowances, income supplementation, special allowances and services?

The extent of target ineffectiveness is considerable, people either don't know of services, have no access to them or have no service available for the particular need.

An example of what needs to be done might be found in the migrant welfare area. An examination of what is required must be compared with what is presently provided. For instance, there have been criticisms of the grant-in-aid social worker scheme, part­ icularly of the d ifficulty in obtaining ethnic or for that matter bilingual social workers and it has been suggested that a complementary grant-in-aid welfare officer scheme be

introduced. Given a situation of budgetary restraint and the likelihood of the welfare officer scheme not commencing, what might be considered is whether for about the same cost as exists for the social worker scheme, a modified program combining both social workers and welfare officers is possible and desirable.

For such comparatively small programs, financially speaking, evaluations are essential, it may be argued that in many areas of social welfare, real improvement for the groups in need could arise from a re-allocation of existing expenditure as much as from increased expenditure. It would seem appropriate in a time of restraint and to balance recent

initiatives to direct manpower resources towards fundamental structural questions to lim it duplication and increase effectiveness rather than to seek improvements simply by increased monetary resource allocation. For this reason, for example, the Commission has not recommended increases in capitation grants under the A.A.P. Similar consider­ ations in areas of health, education, child care, etc. would seem warranted.

Other improvements in administration may improve servides without necessarily adding to costs. Many government services are difficult to obtain (particularly in country areas), overly bureaucratic, inaccessible and even degrading because of stigmatisation. Rationalis­ ation of programs initiated at the national and state levels, and of program delivery at the

regional and local levels, also deserves consideration if restraint is to be observed without loss of effectiveness for those in need.

If there is to be severe budgetary restraint, priority needs to be given according to need and this is likely to require considerable target effectiveness. Further, given the tremendous increase in the area of universal services (health, education, child care, for example), there is now a need to evaluate and review the services with great care. A time of rapid development naturally carried with it an element of ad-hocracy. A major em­

phasis on review, evaluation and co-ordination is now required rather than a continued massive increase in expenditure.

Manpower

A further reason for a stock-taking is the limitation on effectiveness which results from severe shortages of trained and/or experienced manpower. Manpower studies and planning in any area are recent developments in Australia, and even more recent in social welfare.

There is an overall and substantial shortage of professionally trained and experienced

25

social workers, welfare officers and the like. The result is competition between Australian, State, Regional, Local Government and voluntary agencies to capture these practitioners and the creation of what is a seller of services market.

The Commission’s concern has been reflected in the work of the Manpower Committee (see Part 3 of the Report) and in the preparation of a report prepared for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs which indicated the need to re-examine the role of service delivery personnel in remote areas of Australia and the importance of developing training for indigenous people. A similar thread can be detected in the emphasis on community devel­ opment in the Australian Assistance Plan,

Far more careful consideration must be given by employers to the use of scarce professionals as consultants to other less highly trained groups of employers. As well, educational institutions and professional associations must maintain a flexible and favourable approach to the emergence of new skills and educational emphases.

Research and Planning

Growing expenditure on social welfare has not been matched by either forward looking research or evaluation of what has been done. General research grant programs have placed a low priority on social policy research.

In broad terms, if there is to be budgetary restraint, and if because of attention to needs and target effectiveness, universal subsidy programs are given lower priority, the need for research and planning facilities to ensure no net loss for those in need is crucial. A retention, and given past neglect an increase, of resources to research is necessary to permit vigorous attention to need, fairness and target effectiveness. It may be argued that this is even more essential in times of restraint than when the public sector is rapidly growing.

A t the same time research and planning as a general service program needs review as do other service programs to lim it overlap and ineffectiveness. Research w ithout any clear aim, although possibly of long-term advantage, deserves lower priority in times of restraint.

The Commission has attempted to promote research, planning and evaluation systems to assist social policy development generally. The priority this deserves is not simply due to present budgetary restraint, but more particularly due to the recent expansionary moves in social welfare.

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PART 3

Report on Commission Activities

COMMISSIONERS

After the passage of the Social Welfare Commission Act through Parliament in November 1973, the following Commissioners were appointed on 10 April, 1974:

Mrs Marie Coleman Professor R.G. Brown Mrs S. Canning, M.B.E. Professor E.R. Chamberlain Professor C.P. Harris

Mr T. Roper, M.P. Rev. K.D. Seaman Mr G.T.A. Sullivan, Q.C. Mr J. Comerford

Subsequently, Mr F.T. Hill was appointed Deputy Chairman and Mr G. Papadopoulos a part-time Commissioner on 21 October, 1974.

The Chairman was appointed for a period of seven years, the Deputy Chairman for three years and part-time Commissioners for three years.

COMMISSION STAFFING

Staff of the Social Welfare Commission are employed under the provisions of the Public Service Act and the Chairman has the powers of a Permanent Head in relation to Commission staff.

Following its establishment, a small secretariat of three was provided to assist in the servicing of the Commission. Since its inception, the Commission has engaged in con­ tinuing negotiations with the Public Service Board to obtain the policy and adminis­ trative support staff necessary for its operation.

These negotiations led to the Commission having 26 staff members at July 1974 and 52 full-time and 3 part-time staff at 30 June 1975. The total comprises 33 staff engaged on policy and research work and 22 administrative support staff.

The Social Welfare Commission Act provides the capacity to engage consultants and contract with individuals, organisations and groups to provide information, prepare submissions and advise the Commission where appropriate.

This is an important capacity for a body such as the Commission to have when, unlike a Ministerial Department, it must rely for general support on very small numbers of staff. To date, consultants have been employed to provide specialist advice to the Commission on matters associated with the Commission's monitoring and review role of the Aust­ ralian Assistance Plan and in connection with the project on child care. In addition, during 1973 the New South Wales Government gave its consent to the appointment of

Dr T. Vinson, Director of the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, as a Consultant on Social Statistics to the Commission. Approval has also been given for the Commission to employ six more consultants to look at issues concerned with welfare manpower, family services, priorities in social welfare and income security.

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REGIONAL SOCIAL PLANNING

Section 14(b) (ii) of the Social Welfare Commission Act requires the Commission to make recommendations for the development of social welfare programs on a regional basis with localised administration.

The whole question of regional planning and administration is currently being examined by the Commission and by a variety of other Australian Government agencies as well. The increasing difficulty experienced by Governments of responding to differing community requirements and aspirations invites the delegation of both planning and service delivery to a more rational level.

Australian Assistance Plan

One of the recommendations contained in the Report of the Interim Commission included a proposal for an experimental program of regional social planning with an emphasis on community development approaches. This has been adopted in the form of a pilot program known as the Australian Assistance Plan which is administered by the Department of Social Security and is described in detail in that Department's Annual

Report.

In summary the Regional Councils for Social Development established under this scheme are designed to assist local communities to articulate their own social needs and to outline solutions. Thirty five Regional Councils for Social Development are at present being funded during the experimental phase of the program. Each council is involved in social planning in its region. At the same time, they are developing a capacity to help both State and Federal Government planning by providing each of those levels of Government with much needed information.

The Commission's main tasks under the Australian Assistance Plan are to monitor and evaluate the experimental program and to make recommendations to the Australian Government on the shape of the program and on the desirable form of legislation and administration. In preparing a report to the Government the Social Welfare Commission will take account of the contributions from many individuals and organisations made in

response to the two published discussion papers.

Reports prepared for the Commission by independent evaluators of the scheme in each of the States will be of assistance to the Commission in preparing a prescription for the program. The recommendations of the National Conference in February, 1975 comprising representatives of all funded regions will also help shape the future program.

Discussions on the form of the Australian Assistance Plan have been held with many State Ministers and Departments. The Minister for Social Security and the South Aust­ ralian Minister for Community Welfare have reached agreement on the form of the pilot program of the Australian Assistance Plan in South Australia. The Victorian and Western Australian Governments have also forwarded proposals on the plan to the Commission.

The Australian Assistance Plan has also been the subject of a High Court challenge by the Victorian and New South Wales Governments. The Court has not yet given any decisions on the case.

Task Force on Regionalising Government Administration

The Social Welfare Commission has assisted the Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration inquiry into regional administration by seconding its Secretary, Mr David Hall, to work as an individual on the task force. A submission on "The Australian Assistance Plan and Devolution of Power" has also been forwarded to

28

the Royal Commission; its task force has consulted a number of Regional Councils for Social Development in addition to officers of the Social Welfare Commission.

Local Government

During the year the Commission recommended that a special grant scheme be created to assist Local Government Associations to employ staff to stimulate interest in local governing bodies developing welfare services. This recommendation arose out of a submis­ sion from the Local Government Association of New South Wales.

The Commission has been aware of the very different degrees of involvement in welfare displayed by local government around Australia. Victoria presents the picture of greatest involvement, due very largely to the State Government policy since World War II of pro­ viding subsidies to assist Local Government to develop a range of social medical and educational activities, such as public health programs, infant welfare centres, kinder­ gartens, day-centres, elderly citizens clubs, meals on wheels, home help and the like. The rapid growth in the late 1960s of employment of social workers by Local Government was closely associated with the State Government making a grant to the Victorian Coun­ cil of Social Service, to enable it to employ an officer with the task of encouraging Local

Government interest in such a policy.

In New South Wales, some similar growth has occurred, especially during a short period when the N.S.W. Government made a similar purpose grant to the New South Wales Council of Social Service.

No such pattern emerges with such strength in other States.

Some local Government spokesmen have urged greater use of Local Government for the provision of certain personal welfare services, without specifying which services.

The Prime Minister has spoken on numerous occasions of the value of local govern­ ment as a base for certain welfare services.

In addition, the Commission's report on child care and early childhood education recommended that local government be the community base for these services and act as the planning and administrative agency.

FAMILY SERVICES

Family Services Committee of Enquiry

In the latter part of 1973 the Interim Commission initiated studies into family and child welfare policy and services. This included the provision of funds to the Australian Council of Social Service, to organise a seminar and prepare a discussion paper on Family Welfare. However, further work in this broader area was deferred when in January 1974 the Government requested the Commission to urgently develop proposals for the Pre­ school and Child Care program.

In December 1974, Ministerial approval was received to set up a Family Services Com­ mittee under Section 17 of the Social Welfare Commission Act, to report to the Social Welfare Commission on the current and future service needs of families in Australia.

The terms of reference of the Committee are as follows:

"To inquire into and make recommendations to the Social Welfare Commission on:

(a) the nature and range of desirable preventative, support and substitute services for families; and

(b) the roles and responsibilities of all levels of government, voluntary agencies and community groups in the provision of these services.

29

For the purposes of the report the family unit w ill be defined as:

'a grouping of individuals relating to each other within a framework of mutual expec­ tations, obligations and common use of resources'.

A special emphasis w ill be placed on families with children and on high risk groups and vulnerable life stages."

The Commission believes that it is extremely important that the report is developed in close consultation with State Governments and the voluntary welfare sector. The com­ position of the Committee is:

Chairman, Mrs Marie Coleman —

Mr Spencer Colliver —

Miss Joan Fry —

Miss Valerie Douglas —

Mr Keith Maine

Mr Gordon Yuill

Mr Geof. Smiley —

Mr Ian Manton —

Social Welfare Commission

Department of Social Security

interim Committee for the Childrens Committee Royal District Nursing Service

Department for Community Welfare (W.A.)

Attorney-General's Department

Department of Children's Services (Queensland)

Hospitals and Health Services Commission

The Committee met for the first time on 10 March 1975 and meets on a monthly basis. It agreed that the first stage of its task was one of collecting information concerning relevant existing programs in Australia and reviewing legislation to assess the implications for planning a service provision.

To this end, the six State Welfare Departments and the Territories have been invited to prepare a report describing family welfare services provided in their States and were offered the salary component of this Research Project.

A consultant has also been employed to prepare a paper on the focus and objectives of State Welfare Legislation.

As much information has already been collected as part of the work of the Poverty Inquiry, The Royal Commission into Human Relationships and the Family Research Unit, University of New South Wales, the Committee decided not to call for public sub­ missions or hold hearings but to draw on this material. Work on analysing the transcripts and submissions has commenced.

The Commission plans to produce an Interim Report prior to the 1976-77 budget and a final report in December, 1976.

Early Childhood Services

In January 1974, Cabinet requested the Interim Commission to develop proposals for a range of pre-school and child care services for consideration in the context of the 1974-75 budget.

The Social Welfare Commission Report, " Project Care : Children, Parents, Com­ m u n ity " was tabled in Parliament in July, 1974.

The program outlined in the Report provided for an integrated range of community- based early childhood services including pre-school, playgroups, neighbourhood centres, baby-sitting clubs, child care centres (providing full-day, occasional and emergency care), family day care and private child-minding out of school care.

30

To ensure that the child care needs of the community are adequately met, the report recommended that a national policy must:

• ensure that families in need have priority in gaining access to services;

• maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of services to families by offering a range of alternatives which meet the variety of needs;

• build into the program a community development component which allows for broad social planning on the one hand, and community participation on the other;

9 develop a program which is simple in its structure and administration in order

to ensure that potential consumers are aware of their capacity to influence resulting services and have adequate access to services;

9 ensure that both planning and delivery of early childhood services is such that

maximum use is made of the resources of every community in the interests of specific types of service models which, while having relevance to some families, leave many w ithout assistance.

On the basis of these criteria it was considered essential that the power of planning and decision making should devolve to the smallest political and administrative unit to ensure that the program was responsive to local demand.

The Report therefore recommended an allocation of funds for early childhood services to each local government area, channelled through the States which have responsibility for setting standards and ensuring that adequate professional advisory and supervisory services are available. Analysis of grants made under the Child Care Act 1972 high­

lighted the difficulty of eliciting applications from inarticulate high need groups. For this reason the report recommended the allocation of additional funds to local govern­ ment for the employment of a child care 'catalyst' who could assist local government in canvassing needs within an area, help inarticulate or unskilled groups to formulate sub­

missions and encourage maximum consumer participation at all stages of planning child care services in that area.

The Report also provided for allocation of Block grants to the States for the provision of adequate professional supportive, advisory and supervisory personnel, some training of personnel and the co-ordination and monitoring of specialist services to be provided at the Federal and State levels.

In considering the 1974-75 budget allocation for early childhood services the govern­ ment took into account the recommendations of the Australian Pre-schools Committee, the Social Welfare Commission and the Priorities Review Staff. It was decided that the program was to be administered by a Children's Commission and that the Special Minis­ ter of State, as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister would be responsible.

On 17 September an Interim Committee for the Children's Commission was appointed pending the establishment under statute of the Children's Commission. The Social Wel­ fare Commission provided two of its officers on loan to assist the Interim Committee in the initial stages and since that time has continued to observe the progress of the

program.

The Children's Commission Act 1975 was passed in the House on 4 June, 1975.

Rights of the Child

At the request of the Australasian Administrators of Social Welfare the Commission

31

organised a National Conference on The Rights of the Child in Canberra from 1 to 4 November 1974.

Representatives of about 20 statutory authorities, 35 voluntary agencies and over a dozen academic institutions attended the Conference which covered the topics of legal educational, medical and social rights of children.

A conference report and copies of the individual papers present have been published by the Commission.

Inter-Country Adoptions

A t the request of the Australasian Administrators of Social Welfare, the Commission sponsored a national conference on Inter-Country Adoptions which was held in Canberra on the 24th and 25th July 1974. The conference was attended by representatives of all the States and Territories in Australia, as well as representatives of the Australian Govern­ ment Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Labour and Immigration, Social Security, Foreign Affairs, Attorney-General, The Treasury and the Commission.

The conference was arranged to consider ways of rationalising and facilitating the adoption of children from foreign countries, at that time focussing mainly on Vietnam, and to consider whether a National Agency for Inter-Country Adoption should be esta­ blished to help achieve these objectives. The conference decided against a national agency, and recommended that professional staff be attached to Embassies in countries where inter-country adoptions are a matter of concern, to arrange these adoptions direct with the State and Territory welfare departments.

The conference also pointed up the need for the development of an Australian Govern­ ment policy in relation to inter-country adoptions. The Vietnam Crisis in April 1975 further highlighted this need, as well as the need for, co-ordination between the Australian and State Government Departments.

An Inter-Departmental Committee was established in June 1975 under the chairman­ ship of the Commission to consider the formulation of a policy for inter-country adop­ tions. The I.D.C. is composed of representatives from the Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Labour and Immigration, Social Security, Foreign Affairs, Attorney- General, the Treasury and the Commission. The Committee is currently working on a paper examining the issues involved and recommending policy. State and Territory representatives will be involved in the near future. The final report and recommendations will be submitted to the Government for consideration.

STATE SOCIAL POLICY PLANNING UNITS

In its Annual Report the Interim Committee o f the Social Welfare Commission recom­ mended specific purpose grants to assist the State and Territory Departments concerned with Social welfare to develop social policy units.

For the balance of the 1973/74 financial year $20,000 was allocated to each State. It was intended that the States should use the grants to experiment with planning ap­ proaches that might not otherwise have been economically feasible. The grants are to be reviewed annually in the light of submissions received from the State Welfare Depart­ ments, recommendations made by the Social Welfare Commission and general budgetary considerations. The Social Welfare Commission will review the program at the end of three years, ie. at the end of the 1975/76 financial year.

All States accepted the offer of assistance, but because of the delays involved in new positions being created units were not fully established until late in the 1973/74 financial

32

year. As the 1973/74 allocation has not been fully expended a further $20,000 (the original recommendation was $50,000 per annum) was allocated for 1974/75.

Social Policy Planning Units are now functioning in four States (N.S.W., TAS., S.A., W.A.). Positions have been recently established in Victoria, and in Queensland the grant was used to provide a Secretariat for an Inter-Departmental Committee on statutory Family Welfare Services at the State Government level.

Although Units have been functioning for little more than a year, it appears even at this stage that the funding program has enabled State Departments to develop their planning capacities in a way which will enable them to be more fully involved in de­ veloping comprehensive social policies.

The Commission has recommended that Australian Government expenditure for Social Policy Planning Units for the 1975-76 financial year be $476,338 a figure based on infor­ mation received from the State Departments and evaluated by the Commission.

The Commission will be developing guide-lines for on-going funding as part of its evaluation of the three year program at the end of the 1975/76 financial year.

National Voluntary Co-ordinating Welfare Organisations

Both the Department of Social Security and the Commission have been involved in examining various issues concerning Australian Government Policy for assistance to national voluntary welfare bodies especially those which have a national co-ordinating role such as the Australian Council of Social Service, the Australian Council for the

Rehabilitation of the Disabled, and the Good Neighbour Councils.

In May 1975 the Prime Minister agreed to the establishment of a small working group convened by the Social Welfare Commission consisting of representatives of the Treasury and Departments of Social Security and Special Minister of State to examine and make recommendations on assistance to national voluntary co-ordinating welfare organisations.

It is anticipated that the Working Group will report by December 1 975

AGED AND HANDICAPPED PEOPLE

The Minister for Social Security referred the matter of housing for aged people to the Interim Social Welfare Commission in 1973.

A Committee of Inquiry into Aged Persons Housing was constituted and included two of the part-time Commissioners — Rev. Keith Seaman, Chairman, and Mr G.T.A. Sullivan, Q.C. and Mr J. Lucas of the Department of Social Security.

In November 1973 an Interim Report based on a preliminary study of the existing Australian Government provisions for Aged People was forwarded to the Minister. This report was tabled in Parliament and included recommendations to improve existing schemes until alternative programs has been carefully considered and there had (been) consultation with interested persons and organisations. These recommendations were subsequently adopted by the Government.

In December 1973 the Committee advertised in the major Australian press inviting written submissions. A statement about the Inquiry was also forwarded to the editors of foreign language newspapers.

Two hundred and eighty submissions were received. In addition,-the Committee heard oral evidence from 80 witnesses at hearings held in Sydney and Melbourne. The trans­ cript of the oral evidence, together with the written submissions, is held by the Commission.

33

The report is now in its final stages of preparation and w ill be presented to the Mini­ ster for tabling during the Spring session of Parliament. The recommendations, which in draft form have been transmitted to the Minister, aim to assist elderly and disabled people by all reasonable means, to live in their own homes until this is no longer possible. The recommendations also propose special accommodation and care for those who for reasons of limited means, lack of a suitable home, frailty or other circumstances, need to be re-housed, and hospital accommodation for those people who become chronically ill and are in need of skilled medical or nursing attention, or both. It is proposed that home services and co-ordinated health and welfare services should, in many instances, substitute for the present over-reliance upon high cost nursing home and institutional care when lower, and therefore less costly levels of care would be more appropriate.

The needs of the handicapped were considered to be of major importance by the Commission but the staffing constraints imposed have meant that only limited attention has been able to be given to this subject to date. The Commission was able to secure on loan for six months the services of Ms W. Ward from the Department of Repatriation and Compensation. She was able to provide the Commission with a great deal of valuable background material on handicapped persons and commenced a pilot survey in the A.C.T. to identify needs.

Mr F. Hill, Deputy Chairman, was appointed a member of the National Advisory Council for the Handicapped and members of staff have represented the Commission on the Standing Interdepartmental Committee on Rehabilitation and the Joint Commit­ tee on Community Health.

SOCIAL WELFARE MANPOWER

As outlined in the Interim Commission's Report 1973, a Working Party on Social Welfare Manpower was established to report to the Commission on manpower and training requirements in the social welfare area.

Since its establishment, the Working Party has collected a large amount of material on the deployment and training of welfare manpower throughout Australia. Contact has been made with government departments, private agencies and professional associa­ tions in order to gather information and discuss social welfare manpower issues.

The Working Party has sponsored three studies to provide detailed information on welfare manpower:

(i) a study of social welfare manpower in Western Australia;

(ii) a study of social welfare manpower in Queensland;

(iii) a national study of educators in social work schools and other welfare education.

The Working Party is currently sponsporing a study to assess fieldwork opportunities for social welfare education. This study will explore new types of fieldwork available and attempt to project requirements over the next three years.

Another matter of interest to the Working Party is the co-ordination of training facili­ ties for social welfare manpower. In this regard, the Social Welfare Commission is cur­ rently investigating the need to establish a National Council on Social Welfare Education in Australia.

The Working Party has found a considerable shortage of most categories of welfare manpower in Australia and in particular a shortage of social welfare educators. This has inhibited the development of new training programs. To overcome this deficiency a pro­ posal for a post graduate award scheme for study in social welfare was suggested to, and accepted by, the Social Welfare Commission. After discussion with the Department of

34

Education the proposal was submitted to the Government and accepted.

The Postgraduate Award scheme which was introduced in 1975 provides for up to 30 scholarships tenable for up to three years for people wishing to undertake higher degree studies in social work. Twenty-five scholarships were to be awarded to people already working in social welfare and five to new graduates. The scheme aroused consi­ derable interest among social workers and educators, and the Commission has proposed to the Department of Education that the scheme be continued in 1976.

At present the Working Party on Social Welfare Manpower is engaged in producing a report for the Commission which will lay down guidelines on manpower planning for social welfare personnel. In the future, the Working Party will produce reports dealing with the supply of welfare manpower and educational opportunities in social welfare. It will also undertake a survey of current manpower deployment and sponsor a task analysis

related to social welfare manpower.

ECONOMIC AND STATISTICAL ASPECTS

The Commission has been attempting to strengthen its resources in the area of social economic policy. It is becoming increasingly important for the Commission's reports in all fields to be subject to a review of the economic implications. Further, there is a need for economic advice on such issues as financing, priorities and program implementation with respect to all Commission reports.

Unfortunately, the Commission is still suffering from a lack of staff support in this area and has found considerable difficulty attracting a suitably experienced full time economic advisor at the staff level provided.

I ncome Security The review of the various terminating enquiries such as the National Committee of Inquiry into Compensation and Rehabilitation and the Commission of Inquiry into Poverty is regarded by the Commission as a high priority if the Government is to embark on a comprehensive and integrated income security policy. It has been impossible to recommend radical new measures in this field while major inquiries from differing per­ spectives were still outstanding. For this reason work in this area during 1974 was directed towards developing interim recommendations for the alleviation of poverty which are unlikely to pre-empt more radical proposals, and towards increasing the capa city of the Commission to properly evaluate existing and proposed income policies.

Two papers have been published which put forward interim recommendations con­ cerning income security policy. These were:

"Review o f the Interim Report o f the Commission o f Enquiry into Poverty: A Discussion Paper".

"Report on Emergency Relief".

The recommendations made in these publications were based on extending the present means-tested social security benefits to a wider coverage of families and situations; improving the level of benefits and the conditions on which they are given; and providing greater access for people to flexible cash assistance and to loans. Inadequacies in these

recommendations are acknowledged but the Commission did not want to recommend major irreversible and costly new measures before important and relevant reports were received from the various terminating inquiries.

The Committee of Inquiry into Compensation and Rehabilitation (under the Chair­ manship of Mr J. Woodhouse) presented its final report to the Government in July 1 974. The Report proposed a radical new income security plan for the injured, sick, handicapped

35

and surviving dependents of the dead. Subsequently, a Bill for a National Compensation Scheme as proposed by this Committee was introduced into the Parliament, passed through the House of Representatives and brought into the Senate. In November the

Denate requested the Senate Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs to examine in detail the clauses of the Bill.

The Commission made a Submission to this Senate Committee in December 1974 and Mrs Coleman and Mr Rodger gave evidence on the Commission's behalf in February 1975. The Commission later forwarded two further papers as supplementary submissions.

The Commission expressed concern that by implementing the recommendations of the Woodhouse Committee w ithout regard for possible recommendations of Inquiries into Superannuation, Poverty and Repatriation, the Government could have a more ad hoc income security system than at present, where priorities were not set according to any clear rationale and where inconsistencies and unfairness between and amongst different disadvantaged groups would be institutionalised. The Commission did not question the concept of a no-fault compensation scheme, but suggested that it would be appropriate if such a scheme were integrated into the social welfare system, so that, overall, Government gave highest priority treatment in its income security programs to those most in need.

Amongst its evidence the Commission described in a short Discussion Paper a possible model for a Comprehensive Income Security System.

The task of integrating income security programs and proposals is an extremely large one and one which cannot be done w ithout full co-operation of a number of Government Departments including Repatriation and Compensation, Social Security, Treasury and the Taxation Commission. The Commission has therefore suggested the creation of a team of officials from different Departments to conduct the review in time for the 1976/77 Budget, calling on relevant Departments to assist through the preparation of papers and submissions. The resources of the Commission are not sufficient for it to conduct such a study on its own. Late in May the Prime Minister endorsed in principle such an approach.

The Commission is giving priority in its research budget to studies which will assist evaluation of policy alternatives. For example, one such study being funded aims at establishing a model which may illustrate the wide ranging effects of various alternative strategies such as means-tested benefits, universal flat rate benefits, and contribution- based insurance benefits. A second study is examining the relationship between work and Government income security programs.

Priorities

The consideration of income security proposals highlighted the need for a proper examination of priorities in social welfare. This need has been exacerbated by the eco­ nomic situation which requires a slowing of the growth in Government expenditure.

A consultant has been appointed to work with the officers in the economic welfare team to assist the preparation of a Report on Social Welfare Priorities which will endea­ vour to build a framework for social policy development in the next two or three years.

Statistics

Apart from assisting in the development of particular policy reports, the statistical work in the Commission has been directed towards the development of tools for better social planning. Much of this work has concerned the development of indicators of social

36

need which may be used in the allocation of funds for programs such as the proposed early childhood services program and the Australian Assistance Plan. A preliminary system was developed for the "Project Care: Children, Parents, Com m unity" report and the results were published in a Statistical Bulletin "Family and Child Care Project: Needs Data by Regions” in June 1975. Further research has been carried out to esta­ blish a more refined indicator of community social need, and existing social support, for use in the allocation of funds to regions. A Discussion Paper, "Regional Funding", was published by the Commission in June 1975.

Work is now centred on developing a statistical classification of social welfare which will be useful for purposes of accounts, program analysis, priority setting and the establishment of "Regional Budget".

Closer links with the Australian Bureau of Statistics are being forged and the Com­ mission is grateful for the assistance of the Bureau particularly in making available a consultant for six months. Assistance of this kind should ensure that the Commission is able to develop further tools for the formation of and evaluation of Government social policy for regional social planning.

ETHNIC GROUPS

During 1974/75 the Commission became increasingly interested in the problems of ethnic communities as these were reflected through its inquiries into the aged and family services and through its experience with the development of the Australian Assistance Plan.

The Chairman, Mrs Coleman and one of the Commissioners, Mr George Papadopoulos attended a meeting with representatives of the ethnic community in Sydney while Mr Papadopoulos attended meetings with several community groups in Melbourne on the Commission's behalf.

A t its June meeting, the Commission considered some of the specific problems of concern to migrants and ethnic minorities.

A t present, ethnic needs were met largely by voluntary organisations. There had been a big upsurge of ethnic groups, which understood welfare in a very broad socio-economic context, including education and there was a need for direct Government funding of these groups.

General terms had been erroneously used to encompass particular migrant problems. It was too easy to make declarations in principle, then fail to make specific programs. Complaints mainly concerned shortcomings at the service delivery level.

There was a general shortage of trained multi-lingual welfare workers who were more likely to be accepted by migrant groups than social workers.

Specific recommendations arising from the meeting were:

(i) that the rule which renders migrants ineligible for pensions until they have lived in Australia for 10 years should be abolished;

(ii) in considering programs for the aged, including the development of geriatric hospitals, the Government should have regard for the needs of aged migrants;

(iii) a program should be developed to provide both research and expertise (migrant welfare officers) to work with ethnic communities to stimulate self-help pro­ jects as part of broad community development strategy.

(iv) there was a need to ensure recognition of the standards and/or qualifications

37

of interpreters and translators, via a Government certifying body; that persons entering Government service as interpreters and translators be not disadvantaged in terms of promotion; and interpreters and translators should be properly trained at a number of recognised institutions.

(v) that it was desirable for the Council to be linked to the Commission, as well as direct to the Minister.

NATURAL DISASTERS

Two major natural disasters during 1974 — the Queensland floods of January/Febru­ ary and the cyclone which struck Darwin on Christmas Day — have highlighted issues in the organisation of immediate relief and in meeting the long-term personal and commu­ nity welfare consequences of such widespread devastation and dislocation.

The Commission sponsored a major study into the social welfare aspects of the Queensland flood disaster. The study aims to formulate an organisational blueprint for disaster as it relates to individual and community needs, with particular reference to social and psychological needs and problems. An interim report of this study is now being finalised. It is anticipated that both the interim and final report w ill provide material that will be of use in planning services to meet future disaster situations.

A grant of $25,000 has been made for this project under the Social Welfare Research Grants Program. The researchers have been documenting and evaluating the responses of people affected by the Brisbane floods, and of community organisations and individuals who assisted in the provision of all types of assistance, before, during and after the crisis.

Following the massive physical and social dislocation caused by the Darwin cyclone the Commission initiated a study of the effects of the evacuation and associated problems with a grant of $35,000 to the Disaster Research Team at the University of Queensland.

The study is concerned with the social and psychological effects of evacuation from Darwin after the cyclone. The research is designed to examine the decision-making pro­ cesses leading to evacuation, and involves an analysis of the consequence, effects and attitudes of families after evacuation, and the problem of separation and return. The study will also examine the groups of people who remained in Darwin, and assess cate­ gories of people who should remain and who should be evacuated in any future cyclone disaster.

Representatives of the Social Welfare Commission were involved from the beginning in assisting the Department of Social Security to co-ordinate the welfare aspects of the relief operations organised by the newly-formed Natural Disasters Organisation. Expe­ rience gained through the Queensland flood disaster, and through participation in the work of the National Emergency Ooperations Centre at the Natural Disasters Organi­ sation in regard to the Darwin cyclone led the Commission to make a number of interim recommendations to the Minister for Social Security. These were:

1 the Department of Social Security should establish a special section in its Central Office, with supporting structures in State offices, to prepare Departmental plans for meeting future emergency situations. The Central Office unit would maintain effective liaison with the Natural Disasters Organisation and co-ordi­ nate with other relevant instrumentalities. The State office units would liaise with State Emergency Services and other appropriate agencies;

2 because of the particular importance of social welfare aspects being in the fore­ front of any plans for the re-building of Darwin, the Commission urged that it have an advisory role in this regard, and particularly that it provide consultancy

38

to the Darwin Reconstruction Commission on social planning aspects;

RESEARCH POLICY AND PROGRAM

The Social Welfare Commission has the responsibility to make recommendations to the Government for furthering the achievement of a nationally integrated social welfare plan. An independent research capacity is of fundamental importance if the Commission is to fulfil this statutory responsibility.

The basic purpose of the Commission's research is to identify social welfare needs through an evaluation of existing or proposed welfare policy and services. Research is conducted to develop effective welfare programs either by evaluating apparent weak­ nesses in existing programs and recommending appropriate amendments, or by running

pilot projects to test new welfare program concepts.

Efforts to meet this wide range of research objectives have been hampered by inade­ quate resources, both in terms of staff and finance. A fund has now been established to support a program of social welfare research. Expenditure under the Commission's re­ search grants program in the 1974/75 financial year was $193,551. At the end of the financial year current projects involved a forward commitment of $291-,703 as shown in the list of projects contained in Appendix 4. Research funds currently available to the Commission are being devoted exclusively to research that has direct relevance to its

immediate social policy formulation objectives.

It is the Commission's policy to encourage applied social research in the welfare sector generally. A Social Welfare Research Bulletin will be published on a six monthly basis beginning early in the next financial year to serve that basic purpose. In the longer term the Commission hopes to obtain sufficient research funds to allow it to sponsor applied

research which is designed to serve the policy review and development objectives of other organisations in the welfare sector.

The availability of research funds is advertised nationally to elicit proposals from all who may be able to contribute to the Commission's program of social policy objectives.

A Research Committee appointed by the Commission examines all research proposals whether from Commission staff or from researchers outside the Commission. Criteria, including the social policy relevance of a proposal, its methodological soundness and its costs, are considered by the Committee.

The Research Committee until June 1975 comprised a part-time Commissioner, Pro­ fessor Ray Brown (Professor of Social Administration at Flinders University) as Chair­ man, and two other menbers, Professor John Lawrence (Professor of Social Work at the University of New South Wales) and Dr Jean Martin (currently at the Australian National

University). The Research Committee was reconstituted in June 1975 to include two additional Commissioners, Mrs Marie Coleman and Mr Tom Roper.

The Research Committee is provided with staff support by the Social Welfare Com­ mission. The research staff assists the Committee in its functions of project selection and development, monitoring and support of on-going projects, and in assessing the policy significance of completed research.

Appendix 4 contains a list of projects either completed or in progress during 1974/ 75. As will be seen in the Appendix significant emphasis is given to regional social planning

39

family services policy, social welfare manpower and social statistics. The more general and on-going research requirements o f the Commission are seen as encompassing: —

• data collection and analysis specifically related to areas under consideration by the Commission;

• experimental and analytical programs contributing to 'model building' in social development and social service delivery;

• 'demonstration' research aimed at promoting new and innovative approaches to social problem solving; and

• Program monitoring and evaluation (including cost-effectiveness measures) as a major contribution to what might be termed 'performance review'.

While some of the Commission's requirements can be met through 'servicing'arrange­ ments whereby other instrumentalities conduct or sponsor research oh behalf of the Commission, the independent capacity of the Commission to develop and fund research on a contract basis ensures: —

• the promotion of applied research effort which is not restricted to the functional requirements of any one department or agency but which can be seen to be contributing broadly to social planning effort in Australia;

e the co-ordination of research effort in terms of the policy development/review and priority-setting responsibilities of the Commission;

• public acceptance of the Government's firm intention to achieve new directions in social welfare, and especially the identification of the Commission as a body able to influence significantly the development of social welfare in Australia.

Fellowships for Welfare Studies

The Social Welfare Commission has created a system of Fellowships in Welfare Studies. The purpose of these Fellowships will be to provide opportunities for Australian and overseas scholars to study social welfare policy and services.

The program is flexible enough to accommodate research programs in Australia based at either a university or the Social Welfare Commission; research programs involving the combined use of these facilities are also possible.

Applicants will be expected to have at least a four year tertiary education in social work or one of the social and behavioural science disciplines that can be related to the welfare field. Applications will also be considered from individuals with extensive ex­ perience in welfare practice who may lack these qualifications.

The Fellowship Program is regarded as an important adjunct to the Commission's research program, and is expected to stimulate significantly greater interest in the general area of welfare policy among those involved in post graduate study.

PUBLICATIONS

The Commission has a prime function of reporting to Parliament its assessments of social welfare needs and the measures required to meet those needs. Section 16 of the Commission's statute refers specifically to the requirement that its reports be tabled.

It has determined a policy that its reports should be widely distributed and generally available to the public. As well as issuing reports, the Commission also publishes Discus­ sion Papers targeted at selected audiences which aim to invite comments as part of the process of policy development.

40

The Commission also provides reference material in printed, duplicated and micro­ filmed form for researchers and others interested. This material includes submissions from outside bodies and individuals, generally of a technical nature.

It has decided as a general principle that it should publish material derived from its program o f support research whether in summary or complete form.

Commission publications are printed in quantities ranging from 1,500 for Reference Papers to more usual quantities of 5,000-10,000 for Discussion Papers and Reports. They are distributed to federal and state government agencies, regional bodies, voluntary organisations tied to the Council of Social Service networks, local government, univer­ sities and technical colleges and libraries.

Apart from its own direct mailing distribution, some Commission publications are made freely available through Councils of Social Service while others are sold through the bookshops of the Australian Government Publishing Service.

Up to the end of June 1975, the Commission and its predecessor, the Interim Com­ mittee of the Commission issued the following publications:

REPORTS

Annual Report 1973

Aged Persons Housing (Interim Report)

Project Care: Children, Parents and Community

Emergency Relief

DISCUSSION PAPERS

Australian Assistance Plan (Discussion Paper No. 1)

Australian Assistance Plan (Discussion Paper No. 2)

An Evaluation o f Raising the Standard Rate o f Pension to One Quarter o f Average Earnings by Professor C.P. Harris

Review o f the Interim Report o f the Commission o f Inquiry into Poverty

Community Development and Community Development Training by Andrew Jakubowicz

Family Welfare

Participation in Australia by John A. Ernst

A Comprehensive Income Security System by Andrew Podger

Regional Funding: Four separate papers by A. Podger T. Vinson and R. Homel, C.P. Harris and M. Gordon

MISCELLANEOUS

Australian Assistance Plan Progress Report (30 August-3-1 December 1973)

The Australian Assistance Plan and You . . . (Leaflet)

Social Development Regions in the Sydney Metropolitan Area by Dr A.J. Sutton (Published by NSWCOSS)

July 1973

November 1973

June 1974

May 1975

July 1973

March 1974

July 1974

July 1974

August 1974

October 1974

March 1975

March 1975

June 1975

January 1974

March 1974

May 1974

41

Establishing the Australian Assistance Plan in Brisbane (Published by QCOSS)

Rights o f the Child Conference Report

Needs Data: Family and Child Care Project Statistical Bulletin No. 1

October 1974

March 1975

June 1975

REFERENCE PAPERS

Rights o f the Child — Introduction by Marie Coleman June 1975

Educational Rights o f the Child — Theoretical Aspects by John McLaren June 1975

Educational Rights o f the Child — Practical Implications by John Steinle June 1975

The Role o f Voluntary Agencies in Child Welfare by Rev. John Davoren June 1975

The Commission will in the near future publish:

REPORTS

Aged Persons Housing

Green Paper on the AAP

August 1975

October 1975

DISCUSSION PAPERS

Community Development — Controversies and Issues August 1975

REFERENCE PAPERS

AAP Evaluation Reports by States — micro-fiche form production

The Child — Rights and Wrongs by Dr F. Grunseit

Children and the Courts — Ideals and Reality by Judge K.A. Murray

The Health Needs o f the Australian Child by Dr Bernard Neal

The Role o f Statutory Agencies in Child Welfare by G. Aves

Legal Sanctions and the Rights o f Child by John Foulsham

MISCELLANEOUS

Social Welfare Research Bulletin September 1975

The Research Bulletin which is at an advanced stage of production lists current research projects funded by both government and non-government agencies during 1974-75 and also contains summaries of completed research.

The Commission's decision to issue the AAP Evaluation Reports in micro-fiche form follows a survey of over 100 Australian libraries to ascertain their capacity for reading this material in 40 and 24 times page reductions. Subsequently the Commission has extended micro-fiche reproduction to other major publications.

July 1975

July 1975

July 1975

July 1975

July 1975

July 1975

42

PART 4

The Future of the Commission

The Prime Minister's press release of 5 June which announced ministerial and admini­ strative arrangements included a statement to the effect that the Social Welfare Commission would be abolished under later legislation and the Commission's work carried out by a Bureau within the Department of Social Security.

The Minister for Social Security, Senator Wheeldon has asked the Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration to look at possible forms of organisation in the social welfare area and a Task Force has been established to report in the near future.

Until the Government's intention has been carried out, Senator Wheeldon has asked the Chairman of the Commission to ensure that the Commission continues to discharge its statutory functions.

The Commission is concerned that the Government and, through Parliament, the nation retains an independent and efficient apparatus to assist in the development of social policy. The Commission however is not wedded to its own perpetual existence.

Indeed the Chairman, Mrs Coleman* in a paper given to the 46th ANZAAS Congress in January of this year said:

" I t is because we are particularly concerned about the need to clarify, at the federal government level, what w ill be the role of the federal government viz-a-viz other levels of government in welfare, and at the same time to clarify the most effective means of

bringing about a more rational approach to policy making, at federal government level, in the health and welfare field, that we have recently recommended to the Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration that there should be an amal­ gamation of my own Commission and the Hospitals and Health Services Commission and that this amalgamated body should form the nucleus of a national social policy group or department of the kind outlined in the recent report of Mr Justice

Woodhouse on a national compensation and rehabilitation scheme."

In the first of the three submissions to the Royal Commission on Australian Govern­ ment Administration (25 November 1974) the Commission suggested either "the creation of a central social welfare policy group whose essential component would be the two pre­ sent statutory authorities — the Social Welfare Commission and the Hospital and Health Services Commission" or a "Co-ordinating Council on Health and Social Welfare." The Commission preferred the former and recommended:

"That the Australian Government should adopt, in a modified form the Woodhouse proposals for a Social Welfare Policy Department. Such a Department would include the present Social Welfare Commission and the Hospitals and Health Services Com­ mission as its core elements. The Department should not administer as recommended

by Woodhouse the Rehabilitation Scheme, but should overview the co-ordination of services provided by other Australian and State Government agencies."

* Coleman M. "The Role of the Social Welfare Commission in Policy Development and Evaluation" 46th A N ZAA S Congress: Science, Government and the People Canberra 23 January 1975 p. 16-17.

43

The Commission submitted that: "steps could be taken to incorporate within the frame­ work of a ministerial department the two existing statutory authorities. A similar process was undertaken some years ago in respect of the Department of Repatriation and Repatriation Commission."

The Commission believes that the need for independence and the capacity to involve the community mentioned in the Prime Minister's address to the inaugral meeting of Interim Committee in May 1973 (contained in Appendix 2) remain as important now as they were then.

A t its June 1975 Meeting, the Commission resolved that any new organisation ought to be based on the following principles and purposes:

1. to offer an avenue for independent advice to the Parliament on the wide range of social policy issues;

2. to provide a channel for reflecting the views of communities, groups and individuals on welfare needs and priorities, expectations and aspirations;'

3. to develop a nationally integrated social welfare plan, involving Australian Govern­ ment instrumentalities, State and Local Governments, and community organisa­ tions;

4. to establish priorities among competing objectives and program alternatives in the social sector, taking into account alternative means of achieving similar ends;

5. to conduct, promote and co-ordinate research into the social aspects of policy plan­ ning and program development;

6. to evaluate the impact of programs in the light of goals and priorities;

7. to assess likely future trends in social conditions and community attitudes so as to advise on the implications for policy planning and program development;

8. to undertake specific areas of inquiry as required by the Minister in particular and the Government in general;

9. to advise on measures designed to provide skilled staff for the successful implemen­ tation of social welfare programs.

10. to propose measures to provide all organisations including State, local government and voluntary organisations concerned with social welfare access to available infor­ mation and technical assistance.

The Commission and its staff are deeply involved in the continuing discussions about the future structure of social policy advice to the Government.

44

APPENDICES

46

Appendix 1

Social Welfare Commission Act 1 9 7 3

No. 151 of 1973

AN ACT

To establish a Social Welfare Commission.

[Assented to 2 7 N ovem ber 1 9 7 3 ]

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen, the Senate and the House of Representatives of Australia, as follows:—

1. This Act may be cited as the S ocial W elfare Commission A c t 1973.

2. This Act shall come into operation on the day on which it receives 5 the Royal Assent.

3. In this Act— “ Australian Public Service ” means the Service constituted under the Public Service A c t 1922-1973;

“ Commission ’’ means the Social Welfare Commission established 10 by this Act;

“ Chairman ” means the Chairman of the Commission; “ Deputy Chairman ” means the Deputy Chairman of the Commis­ sion; “ part-time Commissioner ” means a Commissioner other than the 15 Chairman or the Deputy Chairman.

Short title.

Commence­ ment.

Definitions.

47

No. 151 Social Welfare Commission 1973

Social 4. (1) For the purposes of this Act, there is hereby established a

Commission. Commission by the name of the Social Welfare Commission.

(2) The Commission— (a) is a body corporate with perpetual succession; (b) shall have a common seal; 5

(c) may acquire, hold and dispose of real and personal property; and (d) may sue or be sued in its corporate name.

(3) All courts, judges and persons acting judicially shall take judicial notice of the common seal of the Commission affixed to a document and shall presume that it was duly affixed. 10

Composition 5. (1) The Commission shall consist of eleven Commissioners,

Commission, " a m e ly -(a) a Chairman; (b) a Deputy Chairman; and (c) nine other Commissioners. 15

(2) The Commissioners shall be appointed by the Governor-General, the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman being appointed as full-time Commissioners and the other Commissioners being appointed as part-time Commissioners.

(3) The performance of the functions or the exercise of the powers of 20 the Commission is not affected by reason of there being a vacancy or vacancies in the membership of the Commission.

Period of 6 . (5) A Commissioner shall be appointed for such period, not

appointment, exceeding—

(a) in the case of the Chairman—seven years; 25

(b) in the case of the Deputy Chairman—five years; or (c) in the case of a part-time Commissioner—three years, as the Governor-General specifies in the instrument of appointment, but is eligible for re-appointment.

(2) A person who has attained the age of sixty-five years shall not be 30 appointed or re-appointed as the Chairman or as the Deputy Chairman and a person shall not be appointed or re-appointed as the Chairman or as the Deputy Chairman for a period that extends beyond the date on which he will attain the age of sixty-five years.

Remunera- 7. (1) The Chairman and the Deputy Chairman shall be paid 35

allowances remuneration at such rate, and an annual allowance at such rate (if any), as the Parliament fixes but, until 1 January 1975. the rate of remuneration and the rate (if any) of that allowance shall be as prescribed.

48

1973 Social Welfare Commission No. 151

(2) The Chairman and the Deputy Chairman shall be paid such allowances (not including an annual allowance) as are prescribed.

(3) Subject to sub-section (4), part-time Commissioners shall be paid, in respect of attendance at meetings of the Commission, or while engaged 5 (whether in Australia or overseas), with the approval of the Commission, on business of the Commission, such fees, expenses and allowances as are

prescribed.

(4) If a part-time Commissioner is also a member of the Parliament, he shall not be paid fees, expenses or allowances under sub-section (3), 10 but shall, subject to the approval of the Minister, be reimbursed such expenses as he reasonably incurs by reason of his attendance at meetings

of the Commission or of his engagement (whether in Australia or overseas), with the approval of the Commission, on business of the Commission.

8. The Minister may grant leave of absence to the Chairman or the Leave of 15 Deputy Chairman on such terms and conditions as to remuneration and absence· otherwise as the Minister determines.

9. The Governor-General may terminate the appointment of a Commissioner for misbehaviour or physical or mental incapacity. Dismissal of Commis­

sioners.

10. A Commissioner may resign his office by writing under his hand 20 addressed to the Governor-General. Resignation of Commis­

sioners.

11. If a Commissioner— (a) being the Chairman o r the Deputy Chairman, engages in paid Termination employment outside the duties of his office without the approval cu offiLC' of the Minister; 25 (b) being the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman, is absent from duty,

except on leave of absence granted by the Minister, for fourteen consecutive days or for twenty-eight days in any twelve months; (c) being a part-time Commissioner, is absent, except on leave granted by the Commission, from three consecutive meetings of 30 the Commission; or

(d) becomes bankrupt or applies to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors, compounds with his creditors or makes an assignment of his remuneration for their benefit, 35 the Governor-General shall terminate the appointment of the Com­

missioner.

12. (1 ) W h e r e the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman is, or is expected Acting to be, absent from duty or from Australia or there is a vacancy in the arr«"ntnicnfs office of Chairman or the office of Deputy Chairman, the Minister may 40 appoint a person to be acting Chairman or acting Deputy Chairman

during the absence or until the filling of the vacancy.

49

No. 151 Social Welfare Commission 1973

Meetings.

(2) An acting Chairman or acting Deputy Chairman appointed in the event of a vacancy shall not continue in office after the expiration of twelve months after the occurrence of the vacancy.

(3) If the Deputy Chairman is at any time appointed acting Chairman, his office shall, during the period of his appointment, be deemed, for the 5 purpose of this section, to be vacant.

(4) An acting Chairman or acting Deputy Chairman has all the functions, powers and duties of the Chairman or Deputy Chairman, as the case may be.

(5) The Minister may, at any time, terminate an appointment under 10 this section.

(6) Subject to this section, a person appointed under this section holds office on such terms and conditions as the Minister determines.

(7) The validity of an act done by the Commission shall not be questioned in any proceedings on a ground arising from the fact that the 15 occasion for the appointment of a person purporting to be appointed under this section had not arisen or that an appointment under this section had ceased to have effect.

13. (1) The Commission shall hold such meetings as are necessary for the performance of its functions. 2 0

(2) The Minister or the Chairman or, if for any reason the Chairman is unable to act, the Deputy Chairman may at any time convene a meeting of the Commission.

(3) The Chairman or, if for any reason the Chairman is unable to act, the Deputy Chairman shall, on receipt of a request in writing signed 25 by three Commissioners, convene a meeting of the Commission.

(4) At a meeting of the Commission at which the Chairman is present the Chairman and five other Commissioners (of whom one may be the Deputy Chairman) constitute a quorum and at a meeting of the Com­ mission at which the Chairman is not present the Deputy Chairman and 30 five other Commissioners constitute a quorum.

(5) The Chairman shall preside at all meetings of the Commission at which he is present.

(6) If the Chairman is not present at a meeting of the Commission, the Deputy Chairman shall preside at the meeting. ^5

(7) Questions arising at a meeting of the Commission shall be deter­ mined by a majority of the votes of the Commissioners present and voting.

(8) The Commissioner presiding at a meeting of the Commission has a deliberative vote and, in the event of an equality of votes, also has a 40 casting vote.

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1973 Social Welfare Commission No. 151

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(a) to ascertain, and report to the Minister on, the social welfare needs of the community and to make recommendations to the Minister in respect of those needs; (b) to make recommendations to the Minister for furthering the

achievement of a nationally integrated social welfare plan, including— (i) recommendations of priorities in relation to social welfare programs;

(ii) recommendations for the development of social welfare programs on a regional basis with localised administration; (iii) recommendations for participation in the implementation of social welfare programs by representatives of the

persons or agencies to be assisted; (iv) recommendations for the co-ordination of the social wel­ fare activities of organizations, including State, local

government and voluntary organizations, involved in the provision of social welfare; (v) recommendations for the adjustment, from time to time, of social welfare programs in the light of changing com­

munity circumstances and attitudes and the state of the economy; and (vi) recommendations for avoiding the duplication of social welfare programs and for promoting the maximum effi­

ciency and effectiveness of the community social welfare effort; (c) to estimate, and report to the Minister on. the likely cost of proposed social welfare programs and to advise the Minister on

the relative priorities to be given to the implementation of those programs; (d) to keep social welfare programs under constant review and to re-assess and evaluate those programs in the light of experience;

(e) to propose to the Minister measures to give all organizations, including State, local government and voluntary organizations, concerned with social welfare access to available information and technical assistance; (f) to consider, and report to the Minister on, measures designed to

provide skilled staff for the successful implementation of social welfare programs; and fg) such other functions in connexion with social welfare programs as the Minister approves. ■

14. The functions of the Commission are—

15. (1) Subject to sub-section (2), the Commission has power to do all things that are necessary or convenient to be done for or in connexion

Functions of Commission.

Powers of Commission.

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No. 151 Social Welfare Commission 1973

Reports.

Committees.

Allowances for witnesses at inquiries.

Staff of Commission.

with the performance of its functions and, in particular, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Commission— (a) may conduct an inquiry, including a public inquiry, into any matter being investigated by the Commission; or

(b) may, on behalf of Australia, engage, or make other arrangements 5 with, persons or institutions to carry out research for, or supply information or make submissions to, the Commission on any matter being investigated by the Commission. (2) The Commission shall not incur expenditure except on behalf of Australia and shall not incur expenditure on behalf of Australia except 10 in accordance with the approval of the Minister.

16. (1) The Commission shall furnish to the Minister such reports as the Minister requires and may furnish such other reports as the Com­ mission thinks fit. (2) Where the Commission furnishes a report to the Minister, the 15 Minister shall, as soon as practicable, cause that report to be laid before each House of the Parliament.

17. (1) The Commission may appoint a Committee to assist the Commission in relation to a matter. (2) A Committee appointed under this section shall consist of such 20 persons, whether members of the Commission or not, as the Commission thinks fit.

(3) Subject to sub-section (4), a member of a Committee shall be paid, in respect of attendance at meetings of the Committee or while engaged (whether in Australia or overseas), with the approval of the Commission, 25 on business of the Committee, such fees, expenses and allowances as are prescribed.

(4) If a member of a Committee is also a member of the Parliament, he shall not be paid fees, expenses or allowances under sub-section (3), but shall, subject to the approval of the Minister, be reimbursed such 30 expenses as he reasonably incurs by reason of his attendance at meetings of the Committee or of his engagement (whether in Australia or overseas), with the approval of the Commission, on business of the Committee.

(5) A Committee shall make such inquiries, and furnish to the Com­ mission such reports, in connexion with the matter in relation to which it 35 has been appointed as the Commission directs.

18. A person appearing as a witness at an inquiry conducted by the Commission shall be paid such allowances for expenses in respect of his attendance before the Commission as are prescribed.

19. (1) The staff of the Commission shall be employed under the 40 Public Service A c t 1922-1973.

(2) For the purposes of this section, the Chairman has all the powers of, or exercisable by, a Permanent Head under the Public Service A ct 1922-1973 so far as those powers relate to the branch of the Public

52

Service comprising the staff of the Commission as if that branch were a separate department of the Public Service.

(3) For the purposes of sub-sections 25 (5) and (6) of the P ublic Service A c t 1922-1973, the Chairman shall be deemed to be a Permanent 5 Head.

(4) The Chairman may exercise his power of delegation under sub­ section 25 (5) of the P ublic Service A c t 1922-1973 in favour of the Deputy Chairman as if the Deputy Chairman were an officer for the purposes of that sub-section.

10 (5) In this section, “ Chairman” includes an acting Chairman.

20. If a person appointed as the Chairman or as the Deputy Chairman was, immediately before his appointment, an officer of the Australian Public Service or a person to whom the O fficers' Rights D eclaration A ct 1928-1969 applied—

15 (a) he retains his existing and accruing rights; (b) for the purpose of determining those rights, his service as Chair­ man or Deputy Chairman shall be taken into account as if it were service in the Australian Public Service; and

(c) the O fficers' R ights D eclaration A c t 1928-1969 applies as if this 20 Act and this section had been specified in the Schedule to that

Act.

21. (1) This section applies to every person who is or has been a Commissioner, a member of a Committee appointed under section 17 or a member of the staff of the Commission.

25 (2) A person to whom this section applies shall not, either directly or indirectly, except for the purposes of this Act— (a) make a record of, or divulge or communicate to any person, any information concerning the affairs of another person acquired by

him by reason of his office or employment under or for the 30 purposes of this Act; or

(b) produce to any person a document relating to the affairs of another person furnished for the purposes of this Act.

Penalty: One thousand dollars or imprisonment for three months.

(3) A person to whom this section applies shall not be required to 3 5 produce in a court any document relating to the affairs of another person of which he has the custody, or to which he has access, by virtue of his office or employment under or for the purposes of this Act, or to divulge

or to communicate to any court any information concerning the affairs of another person obtained by him by reason of such an office or 40 employment.

1973 Social Welfare Commission No. 151

Rights of public servant appointed as Chairman or Deputy Chairman.

Secrecy.

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No. 151 Social Welfare Commission 1973

Regulations.

(4) In this section— “ court ” includes any tribunal, authority or person having power to require the production of documents or the answering of questions;

“ produce ” includes permit access to and “ production ” has a 5 corresponding meaning.

22. The Governor-General may make regulations, not inconsistent with this Act, prescribing all matters that are required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed or are necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act. 10

54

Appendix 2

Prime Minister’s Address

"A Policy for Social Needs"

There are limits to what Governments, or Oppositions, can propose in the field of social welfare or any other. The limits are not just a matter of practicality, or reasonableness, or imagination: they concern political questions of acceptability which you ladies and gentlemen are no doubt aware of, but do not always have to be concerned with. In setting before you the task specified in the Terms of Reference of your Commission, we have

not suggested that you should ignore practical considerations, like those of politics. What we do want you to do, however, is to approach your task in a framework which encom­ passes the general ideological approach of the Government but which does not lim it its horizons.

Through the establishment of this Commission, the community will know our goals and w ill participate in determining those goals. No longer will Australians suffer from the demeaning idea that the Government always knows best. The public reports of this Com­ mission, the independence of which is accepted by all, will serve as a standard by which the community can judge the Government's decisions.

In every area of social policy, there is a risk that the programs developed in one period will be frozen and continue long after the circumstances which led to their adoption have changed. Your Commission has been charged with the duty to constantly evaluate policies and programs. Through your advice, bureaucratic or political inertia, which we have experienced in the past, will be overcome.

The charter of your Commission is a broad one. You have been asked to make recom­ mendations on community, needs in the development of welfare programs; on the deter­ mination of priorities, you have been asked to evaluate programs; to estimate costs and to encourage the co-ordination and integration of all welfare services. No such objectives have ever been formulated in this country, for any of its regions, let alone for the nation as a whole.

This Government does not accept the philosophy that such programs are available only to a particular section of the community: the poor, or worse still, the "deserving poor". These services are available to the Australian community as a right and not by way of charity. The need for such services can face any member of the community, whether he or she would presently be numbered amongst the "p oo r" or not. Bereavement, temporary

incapacity, loss of a bread-winner, can strike any family at any time. It is the mark of a progressive community that it can meet such needs as and when they emerge, without any infringement of an individual's right to self-respect and human dignity.

My Government does n ot aim to present to the Australian people an amalgam of the best available policies of all those countries which we have acknowledged as being more advanced in the social welfare field than ours — that task we could assign to a group of researchers to be achieved by mechanical means, perhaps with the aid of a computer or two. That is not what we are about. Our aim is to do much more. ΙΛ/e want to know what is the best that we can do. This involves knowing a great deal about Australian society, its

needs, its wants, its capacities, its restrictions, its peculiarities. There is no point whatso­ ever in having the best social welfare system in the world if, because of the social circum­ stances in Australia, aspects of it could not be implemented in this country. What we are

concerned about are the social needs of Australia. These you have to determine.

55

Then comes the question of means. Your expertise encompasses both these areas. We have not approached you to write a utopian program. We have not sought from you a political program (whether you might be capable of writing a better effort in that regard than we, is a different matter; we are not going to argue, or discuss that). We do want to

know what are the needs and what means you recommend to meet them, given the social and political circumstances. This is not an easy program, particularly as we are asking not for your views on what has to be done now but what needs to be done in the near future. While we acknowledge the d ifficu lty of the task we have given you, we believe neverthe­

less that you are capable of fulfilling our hopes in this regard. Or we hope so. What you decide of course may not be practicable in terms of what we have to decide when we con­ sider your report. But that w ill be a measure both of your report and of our consideration of it. We w ill not hide your recommendations. But our decisions must be cased on prac­ ticalities, as must yours.

I am convinced that the work of this Commission w ill be invaluable in changing att- tudes in the Australian community, in devising new policies and in establishing a more humane social welfare system for all Australians. In the future, we will not have to look to Britain, West Germany or the Scandinavian countries for inspiration and guidance in the development of social policies. Rather, as was the case in an earlier period of our history, other nations will look to us.'

Canberra 3 May, 1973

56

Appendix 3

Research Projects

COMPLETED RESEARCH

A National Family Welfare Policy. (Discussion Paper & Seminar) A t SWC request — Mrs. R. Nairn, ACOSS, Sydney. Grant $4,900.

A Study of Client Representative Groups. Mr J. Ernst, University of Old. Grant $4,000.

An Overseas Tour to Study Trans-racial Adoptions and Current Studies on Adoption in the USA and UK. Miss K. Lancaster, Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne. Grant $3,500.

A Study of Emergency Relief. Mr D. Griffiths, Brotherhood of St. Laurence, Melbourne. Grant $3,225.

Measurement of Inter-Regional Differences. Professor P. Harris, Hames Cook University, Townsville. Grant $2,300.

Family Disintegration Project. Dr. T. Vinson, Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney. Grant $600.

Social Welfare Manpower, W.A. Mr. W. Carson, chairman, steering committee. Grant $15,000.

Community Development Proposals. Mr. J.A. Jakubowicz, University NSW. Grant $450.

Turkish Community Development Project. Mr. A. Matheson, Ecumenical Migration Centre, Melbourne. Grant $5,000.

Volunteer Bureau — Pilot Project. Mrs. R. Miller, Executive Officer of the Volunteer Bureau, NSW. Council on the Ageing, Sydney. Grant $3,940.

Social Welfare Manpower, Qld. Miss Roslyn McCullogh, University of Old. Grant $8,000 (not fully expended).

Social Welfare Manpower Teaching Resource Survey. Ms. Eva Cox, University of NSW. Grant $3,050.

CURRENT RESEARCH

Welfare Component of Disaster Relief. Professor E.R. Chamberlain, Disaster Research Team, University of Qld. Grant $30,000

Inter-country Adoptions. Rev G. Gregory, Child Care Service of Methodist/Presbyterian Churches, Vic. Grant $9,870.

Means of Evaluating Policy Alternatives. Professor Cutt, Australian National University. Grant $22,000. .

Social Welfare Problems Arising from the Darwin cyclone. Professor E.R. Chamberlain, University of Qld. Grant $35,000.

57

Longitudinal Study of Adoption. Miss K. Lancaster, The Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne. Grant $2,500.

Children's Home Intake Study. Mr. D. Hanson, ACOSS, Sydney. Grant $20,000.

Survey of Bibliographic Resources Relating to Social Policy and its Administration. Mr. D.H. Borchardt, La Trobe University, Melbourne. Grant $10,600.

Investigation of Information Transfer in a Social Work Agency with Particular Reference to Child Care. Ms. C. Maguire, University of NSW. Grant $7,748.

A Study Aimed at Assisting Selected Homemaker Client — Families to Develop Skills in Planning their Spending. Mrs J. Hewett and Mr G. Bodeker, Department for Com­ munity Welfare, Perth. Grant $7,020.

A Survey of the cost of raising children of different ages and sex and living under different conditions. Mrs. J. Forsyth, Department for Community Welfare, Perth. Grant $7,850.

New Directions Project. An exploratory studies of priorities in Australian Welfare prog­ rams. Ms. E. Rust, Australian Council of Social Service. Grant $14,000.

Means Testing and Social Welfare Policy. Ms. L. Buchanan, Australian Council of Social Service, NSW. Grant $8,700.

State Reports on Information Concerning Relevant Existing Programs in Australia for the Social Welfare Commission Family Services Committee. (Six States invited). Mr. B. Van, Department for Community Welfare, Adelaide. Grant $6,000. Mr. P. Vert- igan, Department of Social Welfare, Hobart. Grant $6,000. Ms. W. Tucker, Department for Community Welfare, Perth. Grant $6,000.

A Study of Employment Opportunities for women in rural towns and an examination of the factors involved in movement from rural to urban areas. Mr. C.A. Willmett, Townsville Welfare Council, Townsville. Grant $500.

Work Activity and Social Adjustment. Professor R.J. Blandy, Institute for Labour Studies, Flinders University, Adelaide. Grant $62,810.

Selection and Development of a model for computing multiple regressions as a basis for a system of Social Indicators related to Family Policy. Mr. B.A. English, University of NSW. Grant $2,000.

The Family Role and Interactional Pattern related to Suicide Attempts by married women with children. Ms. M.D. Barlow, University of NSW. Grant $2,920.

Income — Maintenance and Poverty Correlates: An Exploratory Analysis. Mr. G. Tern- owetsky, La Trobe University, Melbourne. Grant $ 5,435.

Extension and Refinement of Method of Assessing Inter-Regional Need. Dr. T. Vinson, Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney. Grant $5,250.

Field Work as a Part of Social Welfare Education. Ms. B. Stephenson, Welfare Manpower Committee, Social Welfare Commission, Queanbeyan, NSW. Grant $1 9,500.

A Study of Urban Transport and the Non-Working Community, (especially women). For Department of Urban and Regional Development by Sonja Lyneham Planning Work­ shop Ltd., NSW. Budget $9,100 (pilot survey phase 1), $20,000 (estimated phase 2).

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Appendix 4

A A.P. R E G IO N A L C O U N C IL S

C U R R E N T L Y E S T A B L IS H E D

IN S Y D N E Y AND M E L B O U R N E

SYDNEY

60

T H U R S D A Y

J U > £ £ S R R / y q s R £ q / 0 f Y

____ r X - APPROXIMATE B O U N D A R IE S \

\ oF p u RD REC.IOMS AND \V

""'■"V----- J A A P REGIONAL COUNCILS X

THE BOUNDARIES INDICATE

CURRENTLY ESTABLISHED REGIONS Of hers arc being form ed

61

Appendix 5

Commission Recommendations

Since its establishment as an Interim Committee in A p ril 1973, the Social Welfare Commission has made recommendations to the Government on a wide range o f issues through its Reports and Discussion Papers tabled in the Parliament and in advice given to the Minister arising from meetings of the Commission. The follow ing represents a summary o f major recommendations:

SOCIAL PLANNING AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

June 1973. Establishment o f the Australian Assistance Plan on a p ilo t basis to test a participatory social planning mechanism at the regional level. The aim o f the Plan is to provide certain innova­ to ry and localised services according to regional priorities, to provide a regional social planning resource, and to provide o p p ortu n ity fo r citizen involvement in welfare decision-making.

June 1973. Establishment o f Social Policy Planning Units in State Welfare Departments. The aim is to augment the capacity of States to develop social policies which w ill more e fficiently meet the requirements of a systematic approach to welfare services.

March 1974. The introduction o f the Welfare Rights Scheme (recommended jo in tly w ith the Depart­ ment of Social Security) to assist, in particular, ethnic communities to develop their advocacy potential, and to ensure their understanding of government welfare provisions.

A pril 1974. Establishment of grants to trade union, employer and local government associations to employ welfare research officers, w ith the aim of reassessing the role of unions, employers and local government in social welfare, and the relationship between their roles in social welfare and the roles of State and Australian Governments.

A p ril 1974. The establishment o f a Social Welfare Policy Research Fund, to be administered through a Research Grants Advisory Committee of the Commission. This Fund is to assist the Commission in the development of its policy advice to Government, and to promote com m unity-initiated research projects aimed at developing and testing innovative welfare services.

A p ril 1974. The establishment of a Fellowship Scheme to assist social welfare experts to take leave to study particular areas of welfare and/or to advise persons working in the welfare area via lecture tours etc.

INCOME SECURITY

June 1973. The introduction o f the Handicapped Children's Supplementary Child Endowment of $5.00 per week to the guardian.

November 1973. The reduction of the residency requirement for eligibility for age pensions from 10 years to 3 years.

March 1974. The introduction of a pension for men bringing up children on their own, at the same level and on the same basis w ith the same allowances as the Supporting Mothers' Benefit.

July 1974. The improvement of the current means-tested system of income security (pending a general review of the system which w ill arise from the consideration of the Reports on Poverty, Compen­ sation, Superannuation and Repatriation) by

■ the introduction of a Supporting Fathers' Benefit;

■ the abolition of waiting periods for Unemployment and Sickness Benefits;

• a significant increase in Children's Allowances fo r pensioners and beneficiaries;

• the introduction of a Family Income Supplement for intact families of working persons on low incomes;

• the reduction of the 10 year residency qualification for the pension;

• the broadening of the e lig ib ility for Supplementary Allowance;

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• the taking-over by the Australian Government from the States, o f fu ll financial responsibility fo r Supporting Mothers' Benefits.

December 1974. The introduction o f an Emergency Relief scheme for persons and families in emer­ gency financial trouble involving

■ a cash funds scheme to be administered through government and voluntary organisations' offices according to uniform rules of e ligibility;

• a loans fund to provide poor people w ith access to liq u id ity to overcome emergency problems.

December 1974. A delay in implementing the National Compensation Scheme until such time as full consideration of its place in a comprehensive income security system has been given.

February 1975. The establishment of a review of income security to consider the practical aspects of a comprehensive income security system including a guaranteed m inim um income, emergency relief, and insurance schemes fo r compensation and superannuation. This review to draw on the Reports received or commissioned by the Government into various aspects of income security.

SERVICES FOR THE AGED

December 1973. Pending a fuller investigation of services fo r the care of the aged,

■ an increase in the maximum subsidy lim its under the Aged Persons Homes A ct and Aged Persons Hostels Act;

■ the fostering of the creation of residents' committees in aged persons' homes and hostels

SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

July 1974. The establishment of a new child care program which w ill:

• sponsor a range of early childhood services, including preschools, fam ily day care, occasional care, play groups, after-school care and child care centres;

• ensure that the services are on a local com m unity basis appropriate and responsive to the needs o f the different comm unitites by the use of com m unity "catalysts";

■ provide finance fo r these services to local communities according to their needs;

• sponsor specialist childhood services, including health and paramedical services and services fo r handicapped children, on a regional basis;

■ ensure co-operation between local. State and Australian Governments;

• ensure integration of health, education and welfare services for young children;

• provide training fo r professional and non-professional personnel involved.

ADMINISTRATION

January 1974. The introduction of a scholarship scheme for Social Welfare Educators for the next 3 years to ensure an increase in social welfare manpower to meet the demands of the many new social programs of the Government.

November 1974. The rationalisation of the adm inistration at the Australian Government level of health and welfare, both w ith regard to policy form ulation and policy execution, via administrative restructure including the integration of the Social Welfare Commission and the Hospitals and Health Services Commission as a Health and Wlefare Policy Department.

May 1975. The establishment of a Council of Australian Social Welfare Ministers, composed of State Welfare Ministers, Federal Ministers of a territorial department, and the Minister for Social Security (as Chairman), to consider reports from the Conference of Social Welfare Administrators. The Council to be serviced by a secretariat w ithin the Social Welfare Commission. The aim is to provide a mechanism for inter-government co-operation in the development of social welfare policies and programs.

63

Appendix 6

Commission Representation

The Chairman of the Social Welfare Commission, Mrs Marie Coleman, was invited in January, 1974, to become a full member of the Australasian Conference of Welfare Ministers and Administrators.

The Deputy Chairman, Mr Fred Hill, is a member of the National Advisory Council on the Handicapped. The Secretary, Mr David Hall, was seconded in May, 1975, to the Task Force on Regional Administration, established by the Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration.

In addition, the Commission is represented on a number of inter-departmental and inter-governmental committees and other bodies, including the following:

• Working Party on Australian/State/Regional Relations

• Standing Inter-departmental Committee on Rehabilitation (SIDCOR)

• Community Centres

• Pilot Experiment for Regional Co-ordination of Australian Government activities in Moreton Region of Brisbane

• Income Security Review

• Family Services Committee (as convenor)

• Inter-Country Adoption (as convenor)

• Working Group on Guidelines for the funding of National Voluntary Welfare Co­ ordinating Agencies (as convenor)

• Residential Care of Children

• Child Health Advisory Committee

• Working Party on Social Welfare Manpower (as convenor)

• Health Careers and Manpower

• Joint Committee on Community Health

• Research Grants and Goals

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