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Thursday, 18 October 1956

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) (Minister for Labour and National Service and Minister for Immigration) . - by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to amend the Superannuation Act 1922-1956. Three of the amendments arise from the sixth quinquennial investigation of the superannuation fund as at 30th June, 1952. The Commonwealth Actuary's report has been laid on the table of the House, and in accordance with his recommendations certain increases in pensions to officers retiring after the date for which they were contributing to the fund are being granted. That part of the cost of such additional pensions which has temporarily been borne by the Commonwealth will be met from the resources of the fund in accordance with the conclusions of the Actuary. Section11A of the act provides for the payment to the fund from Consolidated Revenue of the amounts necessary to maintain an average rate of interest of 3¾ per cent. on the assets of the fund. The decision of the Government, taken in 1947, to grant this assistance was conditional upon any surplus disclosed at a quinquennial valuation being used to repay it. The drafting of the existing section is defective and does not conform to that decision; the amendment will provide for the amount of any Commonwealth subsidy to be repaid to the Commonwealth from a surplus.

The other principal amendment provides for continued contributions to the fund by temporary employees. The effect of the act, as now drafted, is that if an employee moves from one position in the Commonwealth to another, even without a break of continuity, he is disqualified from further contributing to the fund, at least for another period of three years. This was not the intention when provision was made for temporary employees to contribute to the fund, and the purpose of the amendment is to ensure that employees preserving their continuity of service will not be disqualified from contributing to the fund.

The other amendments are of a machinery nature and will be explained if need be in the detailed discussion of the clauses in committee. I commend the measure to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Calwell) adjourned.

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