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Minister fails to answer question on assets test



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THE SENATE

MINISTER FAILS TO ANSWER QUESTION ON ASSETS TEST

During a debate today Senator Grimes failed to acknowledge that

a serious anomaly existed in the assets test, and more

seriously, failed to give an assurance that it would be

rectified.

Speaking on a Matter of Public Importance which he raised in the

Senate, Senator Tony Messner - Shadow Minister for Community

Services - drew attention to the growing alarm amongst all

pensioners, particularly those in rural areas, and the unfair

and uneven impact of the assets test legislation.

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Senator Messner raised the specific case of a farmer who

transferred his property to his son after June 1984, and

who is then considered, by the Government, to have "deprived"

himself of his assets in order to gain the pension.

In fact, no financial transaction took place and it was a

legal transfer with a life tenancy agreement reached between

both parties. .

The farmer then finds that, under the assets test he will lose

his pension if his farming property is above the allowable

limit. Without a pension, he has no income.

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He cannot apply for a pension under the Pension Loan Scheme:

he has no property against which to secure the loan; he cannot

apply under the "hardship conditions" if his liquid assets are

beyond $5,000.

His dilemma is clear.

"I have again asked the Minister to give me an assurance that the

plight of the farmer caught in this situation will be recognised

and corrected", Senator Messner said.

CANBERRA 22nd February, 1985

CONTACT: Senator Tony Messner (ah) (08) 2711029

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