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Wednesday, 2 May 1973
Page: 1637


Mr Kerin asked the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:

(1)   What are the conditions under which benefits are paid by each State under the States Grants (Deserted Wives) Act.

(2)   What are the rates of payment in each State. Mr Hayden - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) Assistance provided by State Governments to needy mothers is of a discretionary nature. Accordingly, both the rate of benefit and the required conditions of eligibility may be varied in special cases to meet individual needs. The rates and eligibility conditions detailed below are those understood to be normally applied.

Cash sustenance of up to $16 per week plus an amount of up to $4.50 per week for each eligible child may be paid. A mother's allowance of up to $7 per week may also be payable.

Assistance is provided if negotiable assets are not greater than $500, cash sustenance being reduced by the amount of weekly income in excess of $4 a week. Some forms of income, e.g., child endowment, are disregarded.

Where appropriate the mother is required to take legal action for maintenance from the father of her child or children.

Victoria

Weekly assistance of up to $17.25 plus an amount of up to $4.50 for each eligible child may be paid. A mother's allowance of up to $4 per week and rental assistance of up to $2 per week may also be payable.

Assistance is provided if negotiable assets are not greater than $500 plus $100 for each eligible child. Assistance is reduced by the amount of other income but some forms of income, e.g., child endowment, are disregarded.

Where appropriate, the mother is required to take legal action for maintenance from the father of her child or children.

Queensland

Rates of Cash Assistance:

Woman with one child $28.50 per week.

Each additional child $4.50 per week.

Supplement where there is a child under 6 years of an invalid child, $2 per week.

Thus a woman with one child may receive $28.50 per week or $30.50 if there is a child under 6 years.

Means Test:

Permissible assets - bank credit not to exceed $400 plus $100 in trust for each child.

Permissible income - no direct income limit applied.

Assistance is determined by deducting the family's assessed weekly income from an Income Limit Scale, or from the maximum applicable rate of family assistance, whichever is to the applicant's advantage. The Income Limited Scale is increased for each additional child and also if rent or home payments are being paid. It is further increased by the amount of rent in excess of $15 per week or home repayments greater than $7 per week. Assessed family income excludes child endowment. Earnings taken into account are net of tax, child minding fees, and fares to and from employment.

Other factors affecting eligibility for assistance:

A woman is ineligible for assistance unless she has taken legal action for maintenance from the father of her child or children (where applicable).

Emergency Assistance:

Emergency assistance may be made available pending the determination of the claim for assistance; the value of emergency assistance may be less than the rates shown above.

South Australia

Weekly assistance of up to $30 may be paid to a woman with one child and an additional amount of up to $4.50 may be payable for each other eligible child. If one child is under 6 years or is an invalid, an extra $2 per week may be payable. Rental assistance for up to $4 per week may also be payable if rent exceeds $4 per week.

Assistance is provided if liquid assets are not greater than $500 and is reduced by income above $10 per week where there are one or two children, $12 where there are 3 children plus a further $4 per week for each additional child. Some forms of income, e.g., child endowment, are disregarded.

To be eligible for the maximum rate of assistance, the mother must, where appropriate, take legal action for maintenance from the father of her child or children.

Western Australia

The rates of benefit set out below will commence to be paid from 14th April, the increases being backdated to 6th December.

Weekly assistance of up to $30 may be paid to a woman with one child and an additional amount of up to $4.50 may be payable for each other eligible child. If the family consists of 4 or more persons, an extra $2 per week may be payable.

Assistance is provided if bank credit is not greater than $100 and is reduced by income above $10 per week plus $4 per week for each child. Some forms of income, e.g., war pensions for children, are disregarded and some expenditures are allowable deductions from income for means test purposes, e.g., child minding fees for working mothers.

Where appropriate, the mother is required to take action for maintenance from the father of her child or children.

Tasmania

Weekly assistance of up to $34 may be paid to a woman with one child and an additional amount of up to $4.25 may be payable for each other eligible child. If the rent paid is less than $10.75 a week where there is one child, plus a further 25 cents a week for each additional child, the maximum rate of assistance may be reduced by the amount of the shortfall.

Assistance may be reduced by the amount of income above $10 where there is one child plus a further $4 a week for each additional child. Income is increased by 25 cents per week for each complete $10 in excess of $500. Some forms of income, e.g. child endowment, are disregarded.

To be eligible for the maximum rate of assistance, the mother, where appropriate, must take legal action for maintenance from the father of her child or children.







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