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Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Page: 3501

Age Pension

Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (15:01): My question is to the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform. Will the minister update the House on how the government is supporting Australians after a lifetime of work and what will be the impact of withdrawing this support?

Ms MACKLIN (JagajagaMinister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform) (15:02): I thank the member for Makin very much for his question and all the work that he does, particularly for older Australians, in his electorate. This government is determined to make sure it does everything it possibly can to support Australians after a lifetime of work. With the passage of the mining tax through the Senate last night we are going to see millions of Australians benefit from increased superannuation, and that will include many people in the electorate of Makin. I know that they will be very pleased with that decision.

I can also inform the House and the member for Makin that from today Australia's 3.4 million pensioners are also receiving another increase—an increase because of this government's determination to make sure that pensioners are being looked after. It is this government that delivered a historic increase to the pension back in 2009 and we also delivered improvements to the way in which the pension keeps up with the cost of living. That is why since 2009 we have increased the pension for single pensioners on the maximum rate by $154 a fortnight—$154 a fortnight that all of those opposite just wanted to say no to. Since 2009, a couple on the maximum rate have received $156 a fortnight extra because this government is determined to do everything it possibly can for pensioners who need that help now and for those who need increased support through their superannuation.

In addition to those changes, in May and June this year the government will also be providing additional assistance to pensioners. We will make sure that singles get $338 and couples get $510 combined. All of that will be delivered by this government. I was also asked by the member for Makin about any danger to these increases. What we know is that those opposite want to claw back more than $300 out of the pockets of pensioners. That is exactly what this Leader of the Opposition is going to do to them.

The SPEAKER: Is the honourable member for Fraser seeking to ask a supplementary question?

Dr Leigh: No.

The SPEAKER: In that case the honourable member will resume his seat—

Mr Crean: He has a bow tie on. That should change things.

The SPEAKER: Even though the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government reminds me that the honourable member is also wearing a bow tie.