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Thursday, 13 May 2004
Page: 23242

Senator JACINTA COLLINS (12:29 PM) —We are sympathetic to the intention behind the Democrat amendment. Clearly, there are long-term carers who are still caring but who are on other payments, such as the age pension, who will miss out on the $1,000. However, we think that the government should offer these families this payment. They should not recognise only some carers and not others. But they could do this administratively—indeed, if the government were prepared to support this amendment, we would not have an issue. However, we think that the Democrat amendment is not the best way to achieve this, despite its noble aim.

On that point, I would also highlight that this is not the only issue of people missing out that has been raised with me. It is not only a carer allowance issue. I have correspondence in relation to maternity allowance and adopted children highlighting some of the problems there as well. There are probably a whole series of these issues that could be addressed and fit more into the gamut of my earlier contribution about why we were supporting the cut-off. We will not be supporting this amendment because, whilst it is worthy in itself, it addresses one issue and there are probably thousands. We think that in future the government might be convinced to act on them, as they can, administratively.