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Thursday, 9 December 1976
Page: 3656

Mr KILLEN (Moreton) (Minister for Defence) - I am under heavy obligation to the indulgence of the House. I am pleased to inform the House that the Government has decided upon permanent methods of annual adjustment to Defence Forces Retirement Benefits and Defence Forces Retirement and Death Benefits pensions. In both cases, the index of adjustment will be the movement in the consumer price index during the 12 months period ending 3 1 March of each year. The adjustment will be payable from the first pension payday in July of each year, including 1976, in respect of the March 1975-1976 period.

For DFRB pensions, the index of adjustment will apply to the total pension. For DFRDB pensions, the index will apply to the pension remaining after a pensioner has to the maximum extent, or could have, taken part of his pension as a lump sum. These methods of adjustment are consistent with those currently applying to Public Service pensioners and thus the long-standing principle of comparable treatment amongst former employees of the Crown is maintained.

Legislation to give effect to the Government's decisions will be introduced promptly in the next sitting of the Parliament. Payments will be made shortly thereafter. Legislation will also be introduced to remove from the legislation an anomaly which is detrimentally affecting the pension entitlements of a number of late entrant officers transferred to the new scheme in 1973.

Mr Speaker,may I turn around and thank the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett) for his magnificent persistence on behalf of those who are affected by the scheme. Gratitude is not a discipline practised in this world. May I, on behalf of the Government, thank the honourable member for Herbert for what he has done and may I presume to thank him, on behalf of all those affected by the honourable member's persistence, for what he has done. The Government is grateful. Those who will benefit from the Government's decision are grateful. The honourable gentleman has done a singular service to the country.

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