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Wednesday, 16 October 1974
Page: 1797

Senator Davidson asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

1   . Has the World Bank produced figures showing that imitative development models based on high-technology Western economies have led to worsening income distribution patterns in the under-developed countries.

2.   Has the Australian Government obtained these figures; if so, is the conclusion reached by the World Bank correct.

3.   Is the Government conducting research into the various types of international aid originating in Australia.

4.   Is there any resistance by the Governments of underdeveloped countries to self-help projects.

Senator Murphy - The Acting Foreign Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

1.   In his address to the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group on 24 September 1973, Robert McNamara gave broad figures from income distribution studies in developing countries. The figures indicated that, in developing countries, the top 20 per cent of the population, by income, received SS per cent of the national income, while those in the lowest 20 per cent received only S per cent. He concluded that policies aimed primarily at accelerating economic growth, according to the Western pattern, have benefited mainly those whose incomes place them in the top 40 per cent of the populations of developing countries. The World Bank has not made available the detailed studies on which this conclusion is based.

2.   No; but a request has been made to the World Bank for information on the subject. The World Bank has reached a very broad conclusion which could only be sustained on the basis of detailed research. Research conducted by such institutions as the Research School of Pacific Studies at the Australian National University tends to support the conclusion.

3.   Yes; the Australian Government, through the Australian Development Assistance Agency is researching ways and means of achieving increased emphasis on development assistance which provides greater social welfare and distributional effects. With regard to our development assistance to Papua New Guinea, we endorse the objectives of the Papua New Guinea Government's 1973-74 Improvement Plan to achieve a more equitable distribution of the benefits of development, and will keep under continual review the question of how our development assistance can best support this objective. The remainder of Australia's development assistance is distributed through a variety of bilateral and multilateral channels. The roles which these channels play in achieving more equitable distribution and improved welfare are being examined.

4.   It is difficult to identify resistance as such, on the part of aid recipient governments, to the involvement of aid donors in self-help projects. The implementation of such projects presents many problems which require delicate handling and close co-operation between national governments and local authorities. Governments are often wary of foreign aid personnel working at the village level. For these reasons, it is very difficult for a donor to make self-help a precondition for assistance. The Australian Government views favourably the provision of development assistance to self-help projects where the momentum for such participation comes from the communities involved and is sustained by the national government.

Health Programs in New South Wales: Terminology (Question No. 138)

Senator Baume asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   What is the difference between a Community Health Complex and a Community Health Centre, in relation to the community health program grants for New South Wales.

(2)   Does the program provide for the establishment of 12 Health Centres.

(3)   What was the basis for the establishment of each of these Centres.

(4)   Was each Centre established only in an area of need; if so, how was this need assessed.

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

(I)   The Hospitals and Health Services Commission accepts considerable freedom and variety in local usage and terminology concerning projects submitted to it under the Community Health Program. In relation to New South Wales, the Health Commission of New South Wales views a Community Health Complex as a project serving approximately 60,000 persons and providing a wide range of primary care services together with specialist back-up services.

It views a Community Health Centre as a project serving a population of up to 20,000 persons and providing, in the main, only primary care services.

(2)   No. 15 Centres and 2 Complexes were included in the approved 1973-74 Community Health Program for New South Wales. These projects are at various stages of development towards full operational status.

(3)   Approval of the above projects was made by the Minister for Health on the recommendation of the Hospitals and Health Services Commission. In formulating its recommendations, the Commission took account of the needs and priorities for the provision of community health services and facilities as submitted by the Health Commission of New South Wales. The Hospitals and Health Services Commission, in consultation with the State Authority, also took account of the benefits of emphasising the allocation of Block Grants under the Community Health Program to integrated regional systems for the provision of needed community health services and facilities. The 2 Community Health Complexes funded in 1 973-74 were part of a regional plan for the Western Metropolitan Region of Sydney. The Centres at Warilla and Cringila were funded as part of a regional plan for the Illawarra Region and the Centre at The Entrance was funded as part of a regional plan for the Central Coast Region. The other Centres were each funded under a specific Grant to meet urgent needs given a high priority by the New South Wales Health Commission.

(4   ) In reaching the decision to fund the projects referred to in (2) above, assessment was made that the proposed services were needed in the area which they would serve. The Australian Government relied heavily on the expert views of the Health Commission of New South Wales in determining the need for these initial facilities.

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