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Friday, 1 June 1984
Page: 2369

Senator WALTERS —My question is addressed to the Minister for Social Security. It refers also to the Government's inability to match rhetoric with action over the pensions assets test. How many pensioners are expected to be affected by the test?

Senator GRIMES —The figures of the Department of Social Security vary from those given in the report of the Gruen Panel of Review of Proposed Income and Assets Test. The Gruen report expected that 28,000 people would be affected. It is our estimate-it is only an estimate because of the lack of statistics collected over the last six years about assets-that the figure is closer to 40,000 but they will each be affected to a lesser extent than that estimated by Professor Gruen.

Senator WALTERS —I ask a supplementary question, Mr President. In what way will those pensioners be affected?

Senator GRIMES —They will be affected in regard to their pension payments if they have assets which at the moment are not counted because of the removal of the assets test by the previous Government in 1976. If the honourable senator is asking me by how much each individual pensioner will be affected, my answer is that it depends on how many assets that pensioner has.