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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2667


Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 30/08/1972

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 2667

Interviewer Paul Lynch
Q. Prime Minister, taking calls from listeners to
radio stations on this and other sations. it is quite obvious,
I believe, that while everybody knows that your Government is
planning to do something to assist people requiring nursing
home care, most people, including those eligible for such
care, don't yet know, two weeks after the Budget, exactly what
this eligibility is and exactly what you will be doing for them.
PM: I can understand that and for that reason I asked
my colleague the Acting Minister for Health to make a statement
about it in the House yesterday. I will have a word with him,
as soon as I get back to the House, to see if we can do more to
make known to the public what the benefits are and how valuable
they will be to people who require three or four different
kinds of attention that is for pensioners themselves, for
non-pensioners and what we call domiciliary care that is
lookinq after peoDle who require nursing attention in their own
hrmes. We will als give substantial subsidies to organisations
that will go to people's homes and give them nursing
attention when needed.
Q. As I understand it I have had a look at the
speech made by your colleague as I understand it, certain
pensioners will, in fact, be able to get nursing home care without
having to get anything out of their pockets or their
family's pocket from January 1. Is that correct?
PM: That is correct. You have got two different kinds
of benefit one, intensive care and the other is ordinary
care. Now the Commonwealth benefit will be in the first case
that is, intensive care, $ 56 a week, and ordinary care,
Now, this will mean that the pensioner himself, or herself,
should be able to keep $ 6 themselves, and that is a marked
improvement on anything we have had before. / 2

Q. Non-pensioners will still have to shell out,
I understand, something like $ 15 or $ 20 a week?
PM: Yes. Well, between that I think it is about
$ 18 a week, because the non-pensioners will be covered by
the National Health Insurance Scheme, and of course they
will be expected to make some payment, remembering, of course,
that some nursing homes will be treated as a home f~ or them,
and they will be living there and not in their own home or
with a relative.
0. Prime Minister, one point which I discovered from
Dr Forbes' speech, about which I had not been aware befDre,
and this is that the Federal Government is from now on going
to insist that any nursing homes that want to raise their fees,
and which are participants in this scheme, will have to
justify any such increase. This is something of a departure.
PM: Yes, it is a departure, but I think a necessary
one and a desirable one, too. Because if we are providing
large sums of money, then we cannot have these institutions
pushing up the fees that have to be paid immediately we
increase the Commonwealth benefit. So we will require them
to justify price increases, either before they become
eligible for a payment, or if they wtqfl to increase the
amount that has to be paid by a patient, they will have to
justify that, too, or they will not get the increased
Q. trime Minister, I am curious about one point,
as discussed by the various Ministers of your Cabinet, and
this is that not all nursing homes will be eligible for these
new benefits, and only people who are attending the justified
nursing homes will be enabled to get the new benefits. Now,
why is this, and how many Australians do you think will be
denied these new benefits as a result?
PM: Look, I couldn't give you those figures, because
I haven't had that problem posed to me before. But if you
are asking me why is it that you requirB them to justify their
prices, then it is simply for this reason. The Commonwealth
itself is making a substantial amount of money available in
order that the new type of nursing attention can be given
whether it is domiciliary or whether it is in : he home itself.
And, similarly too, with other kinds of benefits. Now we
just couldn't put up with the idea that if we granted an
additional amount, as we have, say, in the case of New South
Wales of $ 10.50 for each pensioner requiring attention, that
immediately the hostel, or the nursing home itself pushed
up its fees so that there was no real benefit to the
pensioner himself or herself, it would be intolerable. That
is why we require them to justify the increase in prices.
Prime Minister, thank you very much.

t1y K

Transcript 2667