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Friday, 25 June 1926

Senator ANDREW (Victoria) . - When an old-aged pensioner enters a charitable institution, the Government pays the institution 10s. 6d. weekly, and reduces to 4s. a week the amount paid to the pensioner himself. The cost of maintenance in those institutions ranges from 15s. 6d. to 16s. 6d. an inmate. This matter has been brought under the notice of different Treasurers. On one occasion, the reason advanced for the reduction in the amount of j>ension was that the sum which the Commonwealth retained was only sufficient to cover the overhead charges entailed in making payment to the institution. There are about 30 old-age pensioners in an institution with which I am connected. Although it receives a Government subsidy, it has . to be maintained principally by charitable contributions. When a depression occurs, and the contributions fail to realize anticipations, the. institution suffers. If a pensioner leaves an institution, the full amount of pension is restored to him. Mr. Hughes was approached upon this matter when he was Prime Minister, and he said that to pay the full amount of pension in addition to the cost of maintenance would involve an extra £40,000 per annum. What is that to this great Commonwealth, compared with the benefits that would accrue to our old folks? It is less costly to make one payment to an institution in respect of 30 or 40 pensioners than to make payments individually to those pensioners. If the Minister secures the payment of the full amount to the institutions, he will Gave their everlasting gratitude.

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