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Rural areas hit hardest by assets test



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PRESS RELEASE S enator Tony Messner Shadow M in iste r f o r Community S ervicesTHE SENATE 3 9 / 8 5 RURAL AREAS HIT HARDEST BY ASSETS TEST

S t a t i s t i c a l e v i d e n c e h a s now b e e n p r o d u c e d by t h e D e p a r t m e n t o f

S o c i a l S e c u r i t y w h i c h c l e a r l y s hows t h a t t h e a s s e t s t e s t i s h a v i n g

i t s b i g g e s t i m p a c t on A u s t r a l i a ' s r u r a l c o mmu n i t y .

S e n a t o r Tony M e s s n e r - t h e Shadow M i n i s t e r f o r Communi t y S e r v i c e s -

was c o m m e n t i n g u pon f i g u r e s g i v e n t o L a b o r ' s p r i m a r y i n d u s t r y

c a u c u s c o m m i t t e e w h i c h w e r e p u b l i s h e d i n t h e Age y e s t e r d a y .

" The f i g u r e s r e p r e s e n t e d t h e i m p a c t o f t h e a s s e t s t e s t t h r o u g h o u t

V i c t o r i a a c c o r d i n g t o t h e D e p a r t m e n t ' s r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s . They

c l e a r l y d e m o n s t r a t e t h e t r u e d i s c r i m i n a t o r y n a t u r e o f L a b o r ' s

a s s e t s t e s t . " ■

" Th e y p r o v i d e s t a t i s t i c a l b a c k u p t o t h e s t a t e m e n t s made by member s

o f t h e O p p o s i t i o n who h a v e b e e n r e c e i v i n g f i r s t - h a n d e v i d e n c e

o f t h e h a r d s h i p a n d d i f f i c u l t i e s t h a t t h e t e s t ' s i n t r o d u c t i o n

i s c a u s i n g i n r u r a l A u s t r a l i a . "

" I t was t h e t e s t ' s p o s i t i v e d i s c r i m i n a t i o n a g a i n s t r u r a l p e o p l e t h a t

p r o m p t e d me t o p u t up my P r i v a t e S e n a t o r ' s b i l l t o r e p e a l t h e a s s e t s

t e s t . T h a t b i l l was d e f e a t e d due t o t h e c o m b i n e d v o t e o f t h e ALP

a n d t h e D e m o c r a t s i n t h e S e n a t e . "

" The s i m p l e f a c t o f t h e m a t t e r i s t h a t p e o p l e i n u r b a n and c o u n t r y

a r e a s w i t h t h e s ame t o t a l v a l u e o f a s s e t s a r e b e i n g d i s c r i m i n a t e d

a g a i n s t u n d e r L a b o r ' s m e a s u r e . " '

" D e s p i t e t h e g r o w i n g e v i d e n c e c o mi n g t o h a n d , t h e G o v e r n me n t i s s t i l l

r e f u s i n g t o a c k n o w l e d g e t h e t e s t ' s a n o m a l i e s w h i c h a r e c a u s i n g s o

much d i f f i c u l t y f o r t h e r u r a l c o m m u n i t y . " '

" E v e r y t i m e a c a s e o f h a r d s h i p i s dr a wn t o i t s a t t e n t i o n t h e Gov­

e r n m e n t i s q u i c k t o s u g g e s t t h a t i t c a n be o v e r c o m e t h r o u g h u s e o f

t h e a s s e t s t e s t ' s h a r d s h i p p r o v i s i o n s . "

2 /

"But t h o s e p r o v i s i o n s a r e c l e a r l y n o t wo rk ing ; j u s t 23 a p p l i c a t i o n s

o u t o f a t o t a l o f 1,26 0 have a c t u a l l y been s u c c e s s f u l ."

S e n a t o r Messner s a i d t h a t he had r e q u e s t e d t h a t f i g u r e s f o r the

t e s t ' s im p ac t on th e whole o f A u s t r a l i a on a r e g i o n a l o f f i c e b a s i s

be made a v a i l a b l e to him.

" I t i s u n a c c e p t a b l e t h a t t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n i s b e i n g s e l e c t i v e l y

r e l e a s e d . "

ADELAIDE 26 APRIL 1985

C o n t a c t : B a r r y O ' F a r r e l l (08) 213 2240