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Howe announces Medicare concession for Chernobyl children

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M Brian H ow e

RELEASE ---DII192/92-----------

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services

27 August 1992


A group of Chernobyl children arriving in Australia today for respite from ongoing radiation contamination are to be given special eligibility for health care under Medicare.

The Federal Minister for Health, Housing & Community Services, Brian Howe, said today that normally these visitors would not be eligible for Medicare.

"Because of their unique circumstances, however, I have decided to waive the normal criteria," he said.

"This action has been taken in co-operation with the New South Wales Government, which has agreed to accept these visitors as Medicare patients in the public hospital system, should it be necessary."

A group of 50 children and five adults from Chernobyl are arriving in Sydney today for a six week week visit to New South Wales, hosted by Mission EurAsia Inc.

"The children are all healthy and we want to ensure that they remain well," Mr Howe said.

"Medicare cover will be available for any necessary medical care that arises during the visit.

"I hope that necessity does not arise and that our Chernobyl visitors have a safe and happy holiday."

Mr Howe said this concession supported the recent United Nations General Assembly call for international efforts to help mitigate the consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

For further information: Jane Robinson, Mr Howe's Office (06) 277 7680


Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Social Justice Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Commonwealth-State Relations