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Tuesday, 15 October 1974
Page: 1724

Senator Davidson (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:

(   1 ) Did the Minister for Social Security announce that a complete review of the system of financing the construction of homes for aged persons would be undertaken; if so, will the review be conducted by his Department or by an independent committee.

(2)   Does the Government intend to assume administrative control of homes for aged persons conducted by voluntary agencies.

Senator Wheeldon - The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(   1 ) An inquiry is being conducted under the auspices of the Social Welfare Commission. As the honourable senator would know an interim report was tabled in the Senate on 4 December 1973. The Government acted on the proposals in that report last April. The following action was taken by the Government:

Subsidy limits under the Aged Persons Homes Act were increased and a separate additional subsidy for land introduced.

A three stage approval of new homes was introduced to ensure that proposals are viable both socialogically and economically having regard to such factors as the need for the particular type of care in the area, suitability of the site and proposed buildings, availability of ongoing care in the area and the overall cost of the project.

An embargo on the soliciting of second and subsequent donations' from prospective residents of aged persons' homes is in the process of being implemented.

Organisations are being counselled and encouraged to improve communications with residents, abolish over restrictive 'house rules' and foster the formation of residents ' committees.

Similar measures have been agreed to in respect of the Aged Persons Hostels Act and will be introduced as soon as the necessary amending legislation can be enacted.

A working party of senior officers from the Department of Social Security and the Treasury was formed to examine the adequacy of current maximum limits, means of cushioning the effect of rising building costs and the difficulties some organisations are experiencing in establishing aged persons homes in remote areas.

The Committee is an independent committee set up by the Social Welfare Commission.

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