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Thursday, 15 June 1989
Page: 4161

Senator COOK (Minister for Resources)(8.27) —I do not criticise Senator Sheil in any way but may I make this point clear: the objective is to distribute the money quarterly. It is to conclude after 18 months, having disbursed all of the $20m, plus what interest that $20m may have earned. It is to go to those funds which have a real need. It is not intended to be some open-ended arrangement. It is not intended to be a first payment for something that might later occur. It is a flat amount for that purpose. I make the point again that the reason that the Government thinks it is necessary to do this, which in all the circumstances is an unusual step, is that we are conscious that we are expanding the eligibility for all 65-year-olds to be entitled and the range of benefits they can attract. On that basis we think there is a need to make a payment of this sort. That is a fairly straightforward and obvious position.