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Thursday, 18 April 1985
Page: 1215

Senator MESSNER —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security. Is it a fact that valuers acknowledge that the value of assets, whether farms, bonds, shares, real estate, et cetera, fall when interest rates rise? Are interest rates rising as a result of the Government's deliberate policies to shore up the Australian dollar? Does the Minister recognise that these changes in asset value would change the situations of people as assessed under the Government's assets test? What action is the Minister taking to adjust pensioners' payments to take account of this change, especially given the fact that the ongoing and further weakness of the dollar will place further upward pressure on interest rates and so make such adjustments very frequent?

Senator GRIMES —One should congratulate Senator Messner on his imagination. I will ignore the assertion concerning interest rates which he put into the middle of his question. Under the assets test people whose assets fall in value, as Senator Messner knows, can ask for a revaluation. As a result of asking for that revaluation it will be granted and their pensions will be adjusted. I will refer the technical details of the question to the Minister for Social Security for a more detailed answer.