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Tuesday, 9 March 1971
Page: 740


Mr Jacobi asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

(1) Have pensions increased in the last II years from $9.50 to $15.50 for single and to $13.75 for married pensioners, or approximately 63 per cent and 45 per cent respectively, while average weekly earnings have increased from $43.90 to $75, or approximately 71 per cent.

(2) Have food and general consumer prices in the same period increased about 28 per cent, including a 53 per cent rise in housing costs, which in many instances have further reduced the share of increasing productivity allotted to pensioners in spite of supplementary allowances.

(3) If the position is as stated, will he take the appropriate action as soon as possible to increase the current pension rate by $1 per week.


Mr Wentworth - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes. With supplementary assistance included, however, the payment to standard rate pensioners increased over the period by approximately 67 per cent.

(2) The Consumer Price Index covers a wide range of commodities and services arranged in five major groups i.e. Food, Clothing and Drapery, Housing, Household Supplies and Equipment, and Miscellaneous. The increase in prices, as measured by the All Groups index, was approximately 28 per cent over the last 11 years. As indicated under question (1) above, pensions increased at a much higher rate over the same period and accordingly have a real value today far higher than in 1959.

(3) The question of increasing pension rates is a matter of Government policy and will be considered when social service benefits generally are next under review.







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