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Wednesday, 11 November 1998
Page: 107

Mr BEAZLEY —My first question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm that in the year in which the GST is introduced pensioners will already be entitled to an increase of around $340 a year to keep the pension at 25 per cent of average male weekly earnings? Is the Prime Minister aware that these moneys were already in the budget before the government released its tax package? Isn't it true that, of the $400 pension increase which the government says will be provided as GST compensation, only $60 of it is actually extra money for pensioners, or $1.15 a week?

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —I can confirm what was asserted in the tax plan—that is, that, consequent upon the introduction of the goods and services tax and the compensation arrangements proposed by the government, those in receipt of the old age pension and other benefits analogous thereto will always be 1½ per cent in real terms ahead of the CPI impact of the GST.