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Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Page: 6259


Mr Abbott asked the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, in writing, on 5 June 2008:

(1)   Why will changes to card holder eligibility cost $19.4 million to administer; and what is the detailed breakdown of these expenses.

(2)   How many people will lose eligibility for the card as a result of the Budget’s changes to the eligibility criteria.

(3)   Has the Government changed its estimates for the costs of the Medicare Safety Net as result of the changes to card eligibility. (4) Is the Government aware that in some States the card provides eligibility for a range of concessions for seniors; has the Government discussed with the States the flow-on savings concerning the costs of providing these concessions; and is the Government planning to adjust State funding as a result.


Ms Macklin (Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Responsible Economic Management - Commonwealth Seniors Health Card - adjusted taxable income test.

(1)   Departmental expenses for the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) to administer this measure are $18.37 million over four years, as shown in the 2008-09 Portfolio Budget Statements.

Funds

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

TOTAL

FaHCSIA

0.29

0.05

0.04

0.00

0.38m

Payments to Centrelink

11.27

3.27

1.57

1.58

17.69m

Payments to SSAT

0.00

0.10

0.10

0.10

0.30m

Total Departmental

11.56

3.42

1.71

1.68

18.37m

The majority of Centrelink costs are in 2008-09 and relate to changes to forms and publicity material, IT systems costs, and advising and reviewing customers.

(2)   Around 22,000 customers will lose eligibility in 2009-10.

(3)   Yes, these are reflected in the Health and Ageing portfolio.

(4)   The Commonwealth does not provide funding to the States and Territories for concessions they may offer Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders. Any concessions provided are at their discretion.