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Wednesday, 17 November 1976

Mr SPEAKER - Was the honourable gentleman reading from the document?

Mr HUNT - Yes, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER - Was it confidential?

Mr HUNT -I table the document. Indeed I seek leave to have the document incorporated in Hansard.

Mr SPEAKER - A request has been made for leave to incorporate the document. Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

The document reads as follows-

An assurance can be given that no pensioner will have their pension reduced by reason only of the change from the merged means test, which takes into account income and property to the new income test which will take effect 25 November 1976.

If a person's pension has been affected by property in the past, the Department will reassess entitlement under the new income test. In many cases, the reassessment will result in an increased pension.

The reassessment may indicate that some people's pensions should be reduced, but the Government decided that no-one's existing pension will be reduced as a result of the change to the income test. However, such beneficiaries will not get any further increase in pension, until they are entitled to a higher amount under the income test.

The position will be similar in respect to eligibility for a Pensioner Health Benefit card. No-one will lose it when the new income test is introduced merely because of the change to an income test. Furthermore, the change to the new income test will mean that some pensioners will, for the first time, be entitled to a Pensioner Health Benefit card and to standard Medibank cover without paying the Medibank levy.

Pensioners who receive an age, invalid or widow 's pension or supporting mother's benefit from the Department of Social Security will not pay tax if they have no other income. Invalid pensions paid to men under 65 years of age or women under 60 are not taxable. However, people receiving income in addition to a pension may have to pay tax.

It is important to note that Pensioners who are liable to pay taxation are able to make arrangements with the Department of Social Security to have taxation instalments deducted fortnightly if they would prefer this to paying a lump sum at the end of the financial year.

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