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Friday, 13 September 1985
Page: 524

Senator ELSTOB —I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security. Is she able to say whether the Government has made any progress in addressing and resolving poverty traps within the social security system? Is the Government still likely to attack the problem of poverty traps within its proposed taxation reform?

Senator RYAN —I will answer the last part of Senator Elstob's question first. The Government certainly has under active consideration measures to alleviate poverty traps. I expect that when the Prime Minister or the Treasurer is in a position to announce the new taxation reform package that announcement will contain some constructive measures in relation to poverty traps. It is certainly the view of our Government that it is necessary to take steps to deal with the fact that the interaction of tax and social security measures creates a poverty trap for low income people. We are determined to help ease the poverty trap situation to assist people to move from welfare to work.

I remind Senator Elstob that in this year's Budget the Government raised the allowable income for the unemployed by 50 per cent; that is, from $20 to $30. This placed the unemployed on a more equal footing with pensioners. The Government is finalising its review of taxation arising out of the draft White Paper and the tax summit. Poverty traps have received close attention. The Government will be taking steps to address further the problem of poverty traps in the Treasurer's statement later this month.