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Wednesday, 16 March 1966

Mr Allan Fraser (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) r asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -

1.   Will he consider recommending to Cabinet extension of supplementary assistance to cover those pensioners who have to meet instalments on home purchases at least equivalent to rent, as well as the cost of repairs and sometimes rates?

2.   Will he particularly regard the position of such a pensioner whose spouse has died and who is now committed to endeavouring to meet these instalments from a single pension?

3.   Will he take into account that pensioners in this position cannot give up the homes on which substantial payments are still due, and even if forced to this disastrous action, are not in a position to obtain other accommodation at reasonable rent?

4.   Will he ascertain whether it is a fact that some widowed pensioners are struggling to meet instalments on house purchases amounting to £15 a month and more and have no resources except their pension to meet these charges and to meet the cost of repairs as well?

Mr Sinclair (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Social Services) - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - 1 to 3. The question of extending the field of eligibility for supplementary assistance, as suggested by the honorable member, will be considered when the whole field of social services is reviewed in connection with the preparation of the next Budget. During this review all relevant factors will be taken into account.

4.   It is known that some pensioners, including widowed pensioners, are purchasing their homes by instalments and have little or no other resources, apart from their pensions.

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