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Thursday, 24 May 1973
Page: 2576

Mr LUCHETTI (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will the Minister for Social Security cause a searching inquiry to be made into the conduct of home unit organisations to ascertain the operation of the administration of such organisations where pensioners and other aged persons are required to pay substantial sums of money to gain admission? I bring to the attention of the Minister a case that I referred to him some time ago where at Ryde, New South Wales, an age pensioner was called upon to pay$2,000 to gain admission and subsequently was asked to leave because she was in the process of selling a home which she owned at that time. Since then she has sold her home, has lost her $2,000 deposit and is in urgent need of accommodation.

Mr HAYDEN - The practice of paying key money is quite unsavoury. It is a practice to which my Party objected on many occasions when it was in Opposition. Any instances that are brought to my notice will be fully investigated. Indeed, I take the honourable member's complaint a step further. I think that there is a strong case for having resident representation on any boards administering these homes or hostel units. It is most unsatisfactory that so many of the residents feel that accommodation rates are adjusted without any reference to them and without any explanation, to levels which they often regard as unjustifiably high. Whether they are right or wrong is not as important as the fact that they should be involved in the various processes of decisionmaking. Similarly, on request the residents in these homes ought to have full access to the minutes of any meetings of these committees and full access to the financial statements of the organisations. In my opinion, no increases in the accommodation rates should be made until a full explanation for such increases has been put to all the residents in these accommodation units. These are some of the areas that I currently have under review. In conjunction with the case mentioned by the honourable member, I will arrange for my Department to give even further consideration to them.

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