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Tuesday, 7 September 1993
Page: 1060


Senator PATTERSON —by leave—I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

(1)That the following matter be referred to the Standing Committee on Community Affairs for inquiry and report by 30 June 1994:

An examination of the current methods of means testing pensioners and veterans and the development of options for means testing in the future:

  (a)taking into account the following:

    (i)the impact of Australia's ageing population on age pension and veterans' service pension outlays,

    (ii)the diversity of investment options that are available to pensioners and veterans,

    (iii)the Government's stated policy of encouraging greater self-reliance in retirement,

    (iv)the objectives of the relevant programs in the Departments of Social Security and Veterans' Affairs,

    (v)the need to increase national savings, and

    (vi)the interrelationship between income tests, assets tests and relevant taxation provisions; and

  (b)including findings and recommendations on:

    (i)the identification of any inequities, inconsistencies and inefficiencies in the current methods of means testing pensioners and veterans,

    (ii)how any identified inequities, inconsistencies and inefficiencies can be overcome, and

    (iii)what options should be considered for a more equitable and cost-effective system of means testing pensioners and veterans to the year 2000 and beyond.

(2)That in conducting its inquiry the committee, not later than 60 days after the passing of this resolution, commission a panel of at least 4 independent experts, to be chosen by unanimous resolution of the committee, to prepare reports on the matters referred to the committee under paragraph (1).

(3)That the panel, to be called the Community Affairs Committee Panel of Independent Experts on Means Testing, be comprised of at least 4 experts as follows:

  (a)at least 2 are to have extensive working expertise and experience with, and be representative of, pensioners' and veterans' interests;

  (b)at least 1 is to have extensive working expertise and experience in the types of investments typically accessed by pensioners and veterans; and

  (c)at least 1 is to have extensive working expertise and experience in taxation and superannuation.

(4)That in the absence of agreement to the appointment of the members of the panel, duly notified to the President, the Senate shall determine who shall be appointed as members of the panel.

(5)That:

  (a)the committee, by unanimous resolution, appoint 1 of the experts to be chair of the panel;

  (b)the panel convene as soon as possible after the appointment of a chair and draw up procedures for the preparation of any report on the matters referred to in paragraph (1);

  (c)the procedures referred to in subparagraph (b), and any revised procedures, be approved by the committee by unanimous resolution within 30 days of the committee receiving them from the panel; and

  (d)in the absence of agreement on any matter under this paragraph, duly notified to the President, the Senate shall determine the matter.

(6)That for the purposes of preparing any report the panel of experts may ask any person for information which the committee has power to ask for, and if the information is withheld the panel shall report that to the committee and the committee shall consider whether to exercise its powers to order the production of that information.

(7)That the question whether to make an order for the production of the information referred to in paragraph (6) shall be decided by unanimous resolution of the committee, and in the event of disagreement, duly notified to the President, shall be determined by the Senate.

(8)That any report of the panel be incorporated in the final report of the committee and presented to the Senate within 2 weeks of its receipt by the committee.