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Tuesday, 26 March 1985
Page: 779


Senator McKIERNAN —Can the Minister for Community Services inform the Senate whether the Queensland Government applies a means test to home care and aids for the disabled programs?


Senator GRIMES —The answer, very briefly-but which will require some explanation, you will be surprised to hear, Mr President-is yes, the Queensland Government does apply means tests to its own schemes to provide aids for disabled people and for their home help and home care schemes, which it funds partly from Commonwealth funds through the States Grants (Home Care) Act. The interesting thing about these means tests, in the light of complaints about the assets test from Queensland National Party senators and from Queensland Government members and Ministers during the last election campaign, is that these tests are, indeed, means tests. The Queensland Government assesses people as to their income and their assets, and the upper limit of asset holdings in Queensland before one loses the free home care help assistance is a total of $5,000. So if people, in fact, have more than $5,000 worth of assets they have to start paying for the home help services and the home nursing services, which of course are partly funded by the Government.

The situation with aids for disabled is even more interesting. There are two schemes of this type in Queensland. The Queensland Government, like other State governments, administers Commonwealth funds under the aids for disabled program-the PAD scheme-and in administering those funds it applies no means test. It also has its own State scheme for the supply of aids for the disabled and in those it supplies not only an income test but also an assets test. The upper level of the assets test is, again, $5,000. I think this demonstrates the absolute hypocrisy of people such as the Queensland National Party senators who come in here and say that we should pay full pensions and full fringe benefits to people with assets in excess of $500,000, but their own State Government, in applying assets tests and means tests to home help, et cetera, put an upper limit of $5,000 on their own benighted citizens. The hypocrisy is typical of the Queensland representatives on the other side of this place and absolutely typical of the Queensland Government.