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Thursday, 7 December 2017
Page: 10152


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (18:36): In responding to that, I'll take you through what the schedule does. Schedule 6, as you know, closes the widow allowance to new entrants from 1 January 2018. It ceases the widow allowance from 1 January 2022. From 1 January 2018, women who would otherwise have claimed the widow allowance may claim the age pension, if eligible; Newstart allowance, if under the age pension age; or special benefit, if over age pension age but not residentially qualified for the age pension. All existing widow allowance recipients will be of age pension age by 1 January 2022. Those who are not residentially qualified for the age pension by 1 January 2022 will be transferred to the age pension under one-off transition arrangements. This measure is part of a broader reform package which will create a simpler payment system that will drive the efficiencies et cetera and create greater administrative consistency within the welfare payment. So all existing widow allowance recipients will be of age pension age by 1 January 2022, but those who are not residentially qualified for the age pension by this date are going to be transferred to the age pension under what has been put in place: the one-off transition arrangements.