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Wednesday, 9 May 1984
Page: 1820

Senator REID —I direct a question to the Minister for Social Security and it follows the question asked by Senator Boswell about reports of the proposals being considered by the Gruen Panel reviewing the assets test. Does the Minister believe that to overcome regional anomalies-I am thinking particularly of the South Coast area of New South Wales near to here; the Batemans Bay area-it will be necessary for the Government's assets test to include a leisure package along similar lines to that which was provided in the now defunct legislation?

Senator GRIMES —The matter of whether an assets test should incorporate a leisure package of the type which is in the legislation now is something which I dare say will be considered by Professor Gruen and his committee. If Press reports are correct they have considered or are considering an assets test without such a package. The reason for the introduction of such a package was to cope with the situation which exists on the South Coast of New South Wales and other areas where people have holiday homes for which they frequently did not pay very much but which now cost a lot and which they consider to be extensions of their own homes. I repeat what I said earlier: The Government, will look at the recommendations of the Gruen committee. As I said in answer to Senator Boswell, to my knowledge the report has not even been written. I think we all should wait until the report is written and see what the committee actually recommends rather than rely on a series of Press reports which are of dubious worth.

Senator REID —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. What would be the effect if somebody sold a holiday home between now and then?

Senator GRIMES —I have said many times in this place that if people sell a holiday home or anything else and receive for that holiday home a sum of money which is in keeping with the cost of that holiday home, nothing will happen. If people spend their money on a world trip, nothing will happen. I am sorry if I misunderstand the honourable senator. Is she suggesting that under any circumstances people were not able to sell holiday homes? That was not deprivation of assets at all. I have no idea what Professor Gruen and his committee will report and there is no point in answering hypothetical questions of this type about a report which is not even written.