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Tuesday, 18 April 1972
Page: 1764

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

(1)   What is the estimated additional annual cost of paying pensions and other benefits to certain persons after they cease to be resident in Australia as proposed in the Bill of which he gave notice on 21st March 1972.

(2)   Will he answer this question before the second reading debate on this Bill.

Mr Wentworth - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

It is not possible to determine the additional cost of paying Australian, age, invalid and widows' pensions and other benefits overseas under the arrangements proposed in the Bill introduced into the House on 13rd April 1972. The eventual cost will depend on a number of factors which cannot now even be guessed at.

Some additional costs will arise in respect of pensioners who would have left Australia permanently even if there were no provision for payment overseas; and in respect of pensioners temporarily absent from Australia for periods in excess of 30 weeks. However, we do not know how many countries will conclude reciprocal agreements for portability of pensions, or the number of pensioners who will be affected.

On the other hand, some savings will result from the fact that Australian fringe and allied benefits (e.g. the Pensioner Medical Service and nursing home benefits) will not be available to pensioners overseas.

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