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Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Page: 3575


Mr Oakeshott asked the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, in writing, on 12 February 2009:

(1)   Is it correct that asset considerations for a single pension recipient do not exist for land holdings less than two acres; if not, what is the correct interpretation.

(2)   Is it correct that asset considerations for a single pension recipient do exist for land holdings greater than five acres; if not, what is the correct interpretation.

(3)   Does the size of land holdings affect the pension rate; if so, why is it an issue as compared to the value of land holdings.


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

A pensioner’s principal home and up to two hectares of private land on the same title is exempt from the social security assets test.

Subject to certain qualification criteria, Age Pensioners and Carer Payment recipients of age pension age may have the maximum amount of land on the same title as their long-term principal home that can be exempt from the assets test, increased from two hectares to encompass all land on the same title. To qualify for the concessional treatment, the pensioner must have a long-term (20 year) continuous attachment to their principal home and land on the same title, and they must be making effective use of productive land to generate an income, given their capacity.

The value of land in excess of that allowable in their circumstances (up to two hectares or all land on one title) is included in the pensioner’s assessable assets when determining their rate of payment. The assets test has set thresholds below which a person’s rate of payment is not affected. Currently the threshold is $171,750 for a single home owner and $243,500 for home owner couples. Where a person’s rate of pension is worked out under the assets test, the value of their assets above the assets test threshold reduces their pension by $39 a year for each extra $1,000 in assets. Pensions currently cease to be payable when assets exceed $555,750 for a single home owner and $882,500 for home owner couples.