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Thursday, 24 May 2001
Page: 27082


Mr NAIRN (9:55 AM) —Yesterday in the House I spoke on the four bills before the parliament following on from the excellent budget on Tuesday night. They were the Compensation (Japanese Internment) Bill 2001 and those relating to the one-off payment to the aged and assistance to self-funded retirees. I spoke about aspects of those four bills and the benefit they gave to older Australians, to whom we are able to give assistance now that, as the federal government, we have been able to get the budget into a situation where we actually can reward those various groups. It is very proper that we can.

In the time that I have this morning, I want to reinforce some of those points and make some observations on the assistance that they will provide for many of my constituents in the electorate of Eden-Monaro. I will start with the Japanese internment bill. My investigations since I spoke yesterday on that bill have shown that there are approximately 26 surviving POWs in Eden-Monaro who will benefit from the $25,000 one-off tax-free payment. As we all know, the payment is also for the widows and widowers. That will mean that about three times that number of people will come into that category. So, all up, we are talking about close to 100 people just in my electorate who will benefit from that. It is such a good thing that we have been able to do this. It should be reinforced that we are able to do it. People have said, `Why haven't previous governments done it?' It is pretty obvious why it was not done in the previous Labor government years. Basically there was no way they would ever be able to afford it when they were running deficit budgets year after year after year.

That is also the case with the assistance for self-funded retirees and pensioners. I certainly have a larger than average number of those in my region. People find the coast a very lovely place to retire. The people that have saved for their retirement and are living off their retirement income, right along the coast and in the various parts of Eden-Monaro, will benefit from it. I also have a very large number of pensioners and part pensioners who will also say thank you for that assistance that we are providing at this time.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Nehl)—Order! In accordance with standing order 275A the time for members' statements has concluded.