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Wednesday, 22 August 1973
Page: 195

Mr SNEDDEN (BRUCE, VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for Social Security. The Government has stated that it will increase basic pensions by $1.50 twice a year, making a $3 a year increase, until the pension reaches onequarter of the amount of average male weekly earnings. Does the Minister agree that with the current increase in average weekly earnings and the projected 13 per cent increase this year it is an impossiblity for pensions to catch up? Does he agree that average weekly earnings are growing at such a rate that pensions are actually falling behind? Is this relative position worsened toy the effects of increased prices caused by inflation? If he agrees, why does he not correct this misapprehension in the minds of the Australian public, particularly the elderly?

Mr HAYDEN - I freely concede that it is a great challenge to try to control the inflationary forces which were released toy the previous Government. If it proves necessary to increase the twice annual rate of increase in pensions which we are proposing to ensure that pensions do achieve 25 per cent of the average male weekly earnings within a reasonable time then that will be done. We will continue to keep the matter under review.

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