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Wednesday, 14 August 1974
Page: 879

Senator BROWN (VICTORIA) - Can the Minister for Repatriation and Compensation inform the Senate about arrangements for the provision of repatriation benefits for Australian ex-servicemen and their dependants who will continue to reside in Papua New Guinea after independence?

Senator WHEELDON - This matter has been considered by the Government. As Senator

Brown knows, pensions are payable to exservicemen and to their dependants for matters relating to incapacity or death. They are payable in any country where the recipient cares to live. Medical treatment for service related incapacity also is provided anywhere by the Department. Upon the attainment of independence by Papua New Guinea there will be no difference in the situation of people who fall into those categories. But there are other benefits, primarily service pensions and treatment for non-service related conditions, which may be obtained only by people who reside within Australia or an Australian Territory. If nothing were to be done about this matter, upon the attainment of independence by Papua New Guinea a number of people who are at present living there would lose that benefit because Papua New Guinea would cease to be a Territory. However, the Government recently considered the matter and decided that any person who received these latter benefits and who was living in Papua New Guinea at the date of independence would be deemed to continue to be a resident of Australia or of one of its Territories and would continue to receive the benefits. However, if somebody was not a resident of Papua New Guinea at the date of independence and subsequently went to live there, he would fall into the same category as persons who have moved out of Australia and its Territories to a foreign country and would not be in receipt of the latter type of benefit.

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