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Tuesday, 15 May 1973
Page: 2157

Mr Street (CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:

(1)   How many commissions and other investigatory bodies are operating or will operate (a) for his Department alone and (b) in co-operation with his Department and other departments.

(2)   What are the terms of reference of each such body.

(3)   Will the National Commission on Social Welfare wait until the National Compensation Inquiry and other welfare inquiries have been completed, so that it does not examine areas that specialist committees are investigating.

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

(1)   The following Commissions or Enquiries have been set up:

(a)   Commonwealth Commission of Enquiry into Poverty.

(b)   National Superannuation Committee of Enquiry.

(c)   National Commission on Social Welfare.

The Department is also involved with the Enquiry into National Schemes of Rehabilitation and Compensation.

(2)   The terms of reference for each of the bodies are set out below.

(3)   The National Commission on Social Welfare will, no doubt, have regard to other welfare inquiries that have been, or are being made.


To investigate -

(a)   The extent of poverty in Australia, including changes in its level.

(b)   The incidence of poverty in Australia upon special categories of persons or localities.

(c)   Factors which cause poverty in Australia.

(d)   The ways in which Commonwealth and State Governments, Local Government bodies and other bodies and persons currently assist the alleviation of poverty in Australia; the extent and effectiveness of existing measures and services; and differences between and within States in the efforts of State Government, Local Government bodies and other bodies and persons to alleviate aspects of poverty in Australia.

(e)   Any desirable changes that would contribute to the reduction of poverty in Australia; and

(f)   Any associated matters relevant to the general objects of the Enquiry.


The terms of reference of the National Superannuation Committee of Enquiry are as follows -

(A)   To examine and report on -

(a)   overseas and Australian proposals for national superannuation schemes;

(b)   existing overseas national superannuation schemes;

(c)   the relevance of the above proposals and schemes to present and future Australian needs; and

(d)   the financial, economic and social implications of such proposals and schemes in the Australian setting.

(B)   To make recommendations to the Government on a suitable national superannuation scheme.

In fulfilling this task the Committee will have regard to the Government's objective to abolish the means test within the life of the present Parliament for those aged 65 years and over and to increase the basic rate of pension to 25 per cent of average weekly earnings progressively by twice annual increases of at least$ 1.50 a week.

The Committee will also include in its examination an investigation of the following matters -

(1)   in addition to covering the contingency of retirement on the grounds of age, whether the scheme should also cover other contingencies such as -

(i)   voluntary early or deferred retirement

(ii)   invalidity

(iii)   widowed survivor

(iv)   mortality grant for surviving spouse

(v)   unemployment

(vi)   sickness

(2)   whether benefits should be flat-rate or earnings related or a combination of these;

(3)   whether eligibility for benefits should be linked to the payment of contributions or depend simply on the occurrence of a contingency covered by the scheme;

(4)   the method of determining and adjusting the levels of benefits in future years;

(5)   the most equitable way of financing the scheme and distributing its cost;

(6)   the taxation treatment of benefits, and of contributions if they form part of the scheme;

(7)   the treatment of contributors who emigrate before or after an entitlement to draw benefits;

(8)   whether and if so what provision should be made for 'contracting out' of the scheme;

(9)   the method of introducing or phasing in the scheme;

(10)   the treatment of entitlements under existing superannuation schemes;

(11)   the best way in which free-of-means test benefits could be either replaced by, or integrated into, the national superannuation scheme.


1.   The Commission will report directly, and be answerable, to the Minister for Social Security and its reports will be published and tabled in Parliament. The Commission will be served by a Secretariat under a Senior Administrative Officer and have access to the technical, research, administrative and library resources of the Department of Social Security.

2.   The Commission has the right to confer with, and accept submissions from, people and organisations, private and public (including Governments).

3.   The functions of the Commission art to -

(1)   identify, report and recommend on community needs in the development of social welfare programs;

(2)   make recommendations, consistent with the development of a nationally integrated social welfare plan, in which -

(a)   priorities are set;

(b)   programs are developed on a regional basis and, wherever practicable, their administration is localised;

(c)   provision is made for user representation in the administration of programs;

(d)   Commonwealth, State, Local Government and voluntary agencies are encouraged to co-ordinate their activities;

(e)   planning is periodically adjusted as required in the light of changing community circumstances, attitudes and the capacity of the economy to sustain the development of programs; and

(f)   it will identify and make recommendations to avoid duplication between authorities so as to maximise efficiency and effectiveness of the total community welfare effort.

4.   Estimate the likely cost of new programs and the priority to be afforded their implementation.

5.   Regularly re-assess and evaluate in the light of experience the continuing need for established programs.

Propose measures which would give all relevant bodies - Commonwealth, State, Local Authority and Voluntary Agencies - access to available information and technical assistance.

Investigate and report on suitable policies to provide skilled staff to allow the successful development of the Government's social welfare programs to proceed;

8.   Undertake such other matters related to the development of social welfare programs as may be referred to it from time to time by the Minister for Social Security.


To inquire into and report on the scope and form of. and the manner of instituting and administering, a National Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme appropriate to Australia, and which in principle the Australian Government has decided to establish, for the purpose of rehabilitating and compensating every person who at any time or in any place suffers a personal injury (including prenatal injury) and whether the injury be sustained on the road, at work, in the home, in the school or elsewhere or is an industrial disease with particular reference to -

(a)   the circumstances in which an injury should be covered;

(b)   the application of the scheme where death results from the injury;

(c)   the nature and extent of the benefits that should be provided;

(d)   how the scheme should be financed;

(e)   the relationship between benefits under the scheme and other social service benefits;

(f)   whether rights under the scheme should be in substitution for all or any rights now existing;

(g)   the encouragement of precautions against accident;

(h)   the provision of rehabilitation facilities; and

(i)   the manner of administering the scheme.

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