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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4526


Mr Hansen asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:

(1)   Was the . allowance payable to repatriation pensioners who use their own transport to obtain treatment reduced from 11.4c to 6c a mile; if so, why?

(2)   If the position is as stated, did the Repatriation Commission reduce the allowance on its own initiative after considering evidence that travel costs are reducing or was the reduction part of the Government's economy drive to reduce expenditure.


Mr Holten - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The rate of the allowance payable to repatriation pensioners who use their own transport to attend for medical treatment or other authorised purposes was revised in May 1971. The allowance previously authorised where public transport was available, and the pensioner's incapacity did not prevent its use, was an amount equal to the cost that would have been incurred by using public transport. In any other circumstances an allowance, based on mileage travelled, was paid at the following rates: 4 cylinder vehicle - 9.5c a mile 6 cylinder vehicle - 11.4c a mile 8 cylinder vehicle - 16.5c a mile

Those rates were based on the rates approved under Public Service Regulation 90 for officers of the Public Service who used their own vehicles for authorised official purposes, and incorporated elements for standing expenses such as insurance, registration, depreciation, etc., as well as the cost of petrol, oil, etc.

During the review of these rates which commenced in mid-1970 the Repatriation Commission considered that the rates payable under Public Service Reg. 90a for officers of the public service who used a private vehicle for specified purposes on irregular occasions, would be more appropriate for repatriation pensioners. Accordingly, the new rates authorised were:

(a)   where public transport is available but the pensioner, of his own choice, prefers to use his private vehicle, he is paid at a rate of 6c a mile irrespective of the size of the motor;

(b)   where public transport is not available, or the pensioner's incapacity will not allow for its use, payment is made at the following rates: 4 cylinder vehicle - 7c a mile 6 cylinder vehicle - 8.2c a mile 8 cylinder vehicle - 12.1c a mile.

The current rates are designed to cover actual running costs, so that ex-servicemen would not be out of pocket, but they do not cover fixed costs of owning a motor vehicle, such as insurance, registration, depreciation, etc.

(2)   Neither. See answer (1) above.







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