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Thursday, 27 November 1986
Page: 2883

Senator McKIERNAN —Can the Minister representing the Minister for Territories clarify the contents of a recent announcement by the Minister for Territories regarding pensioner rebates on electricity accounts in the Australian Capital Territory? Will war widows and other Veterans' Affairs beneficiaries be entitled to the rebates? Further, I ask the Minister to detail how home users of life support systems will benefit from the revised procedures.

Senator GIETZELT —My colleague the Minister for Territories, Mr Scholes, has announced that as from yesterday there will be a 100 per cent increase in the pensioner rebate for electricity charges in the Australian Capital Territory. This is the first increase since 1981. It brings the rebate into line with the movements in costs since that time. In recognition of Canberra's severe winter and the consequent high heating costs, the $80 rebate annually will apply on the basis of a rebate of $20 in each of the two highest billing periods, in winter, and $10 in each of the other two-month periods. That rebate will apply to all pensioners in the Australian Capital Territory. In relation to the second part of Senator McKiernan's question, all pensioners and beneficiaries of the Department of Social Security and the Department of Veterans' Affairs who hold a pensioner health benefits card are eligible as well as war widows in possession of the dependant treatment entitlement card in the special totally and permanently incapacitated pensioner group.

In respect of the third part of the question, the Minister has also announced the introduction of a special $60 per annum electricity rebate for home users of life support equipment in the Australian Capital Territory. So people who use home dialysis machines, oxygen concentrators and respirators or similar life support equipment will be eligible. I inform the Senate that the Australian Capital Territory Electricity Authority maintains a register of those specific users of electricity to ensure that the power supply to life support systems is not disrupted.