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Tuesday, 15 August 1972
Page: 133

Commonwealth Expenditure

Commonwealth expenditure in the fields of social welfare and repatriation is brought together in the following table which shows actual expenditure in 1971-72, and estimated expenditure in 1972-73 including the cost of measures announced in the Budget Speech. In addition to expenditure contained in Item No. ) - Payment to National Welfare Fund and Item No. 4 - Repatriation Services in Statement No. 4, this table includes certain expenditure contained in other Items in that Statement.

Details of the components of these broad headings are given below.

Social Services

Expenditure under this heading comprises amounts charged to the National Welfare Fund and other social services expenditure provided for by annual appropriations or by separate legislation. Details et expenditure charged to the National Welfare Fund are contained in Item No. 3, Statement No. 4. The totals of these expenditures are repeated in the following table which also gives particulars of other social services expenditure.

Health Services

Certain expenditure on health services is met from the National Welfare Fund. Details are shown in Item No. 3, Statement No. 4. Other expenditure is provided for by annual appropriations or by separate legislation. The following table shows the total of the National Welfare Fund expenditure on health services and particulars of other national health services items not charged to the Fund.

Commonwealth Assistance Through the Taxation System

The Commonwealth's direct expenditure on social services, health, housing and repatriation benefits and services (estimated at 82,529,238,000 in 1972-73) is not a full measure of the cost to the Commonwealth Of its welfare and repatriation assistance. In addition, there are certain taxation concessions having welfare aspects granted to taxpayers under the income tax law and the sales tax law. Some of these concessions (for example, dependants allowances) are related also to other considerations (for example, the differing ability to pay' of persons on the same income but with varying numbers of dependants) and their summation below does not imply, therefore, that they are entirely of a welfare nature. Income tax provisions of these kinds are set OUt below. Sales tax exemptions are available for certain purchases by approved bodies such as public benevolent institutions and by certain disabled persons.

The amount of revenue forgone in respect of the 1970-71 income year through the main income taxation concessions of a welfare or part-welfare nature is estimated at $788 million. The main concessions, together with the estimated amounts of revenue forgone, are listed below: -

(a)   In estimating the revenue forgone in respect of the above group of deductions of a welfare nature (which relates to amounts allowed to taxable individuals) the total cost of the group has been estimated and the resulting amount apportioned to the component classes of deduction.

(6)   The maximum deductions allowable for each class of dependant in the 1970-71 income year were as follows: -

 

(c)   There was a maximum deduction in the 1970-71 income year of $100 for funeral expenses in respect of a taxpayer's spouse, children under 21 or dependants.

(d)   Relates to deductions which an employee or self-employed taxpayer may claim up to a specified maximum ($1,200 in the 1970-71 income year) each year for contributions to a superannuation scheme or for premiums for life assurance, accident and sickness policies, etc. Superannuation contributions on which revenue is forgone may later give rise to retirement income which is assessable to tax, in whole or in part.

(e)   For the 1970-71 income year, complete exemption from tax applied where an aged taxpayer's taxable income did not exceed $1,326 or, if he was married, the combined taxable incomes of the taxpayer and his spouse did not exceed $2,314. Shading-in provisions provided a gradual transition to normal rates of tax Up to the limits of $2,273 of taxable income for a single taxpayer and $4,102 of combined taxable income for a taxpayer and bis spouse. (J )The estimate of revenue forgone relates only to taxable individuals and those non-taxable individuals who lodged returns in respect of the 1970-71 income yeal'. 136 Appropriation Bill (No. 1 ) REPRESENTATIVES Appropriation Bill (No. 1 ) OUTLINE OF THE MAIN SOCIAL WELFARE AND REPATRIATION BENEFITS

In this section the existing and proposed rates of the main social service, health, housing and repatriation benefits are set out. Also included is information on proposals to vary other social welfare and repatriation benefits.

A.   SOCIAL SERVICES

Benefit

Rate (maximum)

Existing

Proposed 1972-73 + Increase - Decease

Age and Invalid Pensions and Allowances and Sheltered Employment Allowances - Single person

Married couple (both eligible but living apart for an indefinite period through ill health) - each

Married couple (both eligible and living together)- each

Married couple- husband eligibleHusbands pension Payment for wife

Married couple - wife eligible

Each dependent child (including a student child under 21 years)

Guardians allowances - Where there is a child under 6 years or an invalid child requiring full-time ca*e Other cases

Supplementary assistance - for certain pensioners and beneficiaries who pay rent(A) Widows Pensions and Allowances - Cass A - Widows with dependent children Mothers allowancesWhere there is a child under 6 years or an invalid child requiring full-time care Other cases

Each dependent child (including a student child under 21 years)

Class B- Widows aged 50 years or more without dependent children

Class C - Widows under 50 years of age in necessitous circumstances and without dependent children

Supplementary assistance- for certain pensioners who pay rent

Long-term Sickness Benefits - Adult or married minor Spouse

Each child under 16 years Person 16 and under 21 years

Supplementary allowance - for certain beneficiaries who pay rent

Unemployment and Short-term Sickness Benefits - Adult or married minor

Spouse . . . . . . .

Esch child under 16 years .. .. ..

Person 16 and under 18 years P -«on '8 and under 21 years .. Marcrnit> Allowances - No other children 1 or i other children . . . . 3 or mo'e other children

Multiple Births - Additional payment for each additional child

Child EndowmentFirs* child under 16 years Second child under 16 years Third child under 16 years .. ..

Other children under 16 years . . . . . . , .

Each student child 16 years and under 21 years

Personal Care Subsidy a week

18.25

18.25 16.00

18.25 8.00 18.25

4.50

6.00 4.00

2.00

18.25

6.00 4.00

4.50 16.00 16.00

2.00

18.25 8.00 4.50

12.00

2.00

17.00 8.00 4.50 7.50

11.00

30.00 32.00 35.00

10.00

lump sum

0.50

1.00

2.00

<<0

1.50

5.00

a week

20.00

20.00 17.25

17.25(a) 17.25(a) 20.00

4.50

6.00 4.00

4.00 20.00

6.00 4.00

4.50 17.25 17.25

4.00

20.00 8.00 4.50

13.00

4.00

17.00 8.00 4.50 7.50

11.00

30.00 32.00 35.00

10.00

lump sum

0.50 1.00 2.00

(e)   t.50 10. 00 a week

+ 1.75

+ 1.75 + 1.25

-1.00 +9.25 + 1.75

+2.00 + 1.75

+ 1.25 + 1.25 +2.00 + 1.75

+i!oo

+2.00

+5.00

(a)   As announced in the Budget Speech, it is proposed to extend eligibility for pension, at the married rate, to the wives of all age and invalid pensioners and to pay the husband in such cases pension at the married rate. Payment, at present is restricted to a non-pensioner wife if the pensioner is permanently incapacitated for work, or is blind, or has a child.

(6)   As announced in the Budget Speech, it is proposed to extend eligibility for supplementary assistance to married couples who pay rent.

(c)   Child endowment for the fourth child under 16 ears in a family is $2.25 a week, for the fifth, $2.50 a week nd soon.

B.   HEALTH SERVICES

Rate (maximum)

(a)   Health insurance benefits equal to standard fund and Commonwealth benefits are provided free to certain persons. This entitlement applies to family groups of at least two units where the family income is $51.50 a week or less, to unemployment and sickness beneficiaries and to migrants for a period of two months after arrival in Australia. Family groups with incomes between $51 .50 a week and $54.50 a week are entitled to the same benefits on payment of contributions for health insurance at one-third the usual rates; family groups with incomes between $54.50 a week and $57.50 a week are entitled to the benefits on payment of contributions at two-thirds the usual rates. Where the head of the family is of pensionable age, eligibility is assessed on a means test basis similar to that applying to pension eligibility. (ft) Legislation is to be introduced to allow registered hospital insurance organisations to pay a daily fund nursing home benefit to insured patients. The proposed fund benefit may vary from State to State. The legislation will also provide for the Commonwealth to pay an amount equivalent to the relevant fund benefit in the State concerned for nursing home patients entitled to benefits under the Pensioner Medical Service. The present Commonwealth nursing home benefits will continue to be payable in both of these cases.

(c)   Legislation is to be introduced to provide for the payment of a Commonwealth benefit of $2.00 a day to persons who arrange for the provision of nursing care for elderly relatives at home. Certain criteria will determine eligibility for the benefit.

(d)   Except for a flat charge per prescription which is payable by patients, the Commonwealth meets the cost of a wide range of drugs supplied on a doctor's prescription to any person in the community. The patient contribution is 50 cents per prescription for those persons eligible to receive assistance under the Subsidised Health Benefits Plan (see (a) above) and $1.00 per prescription for other persons except that no charge is payable by persons enrolled in the Pensioner Medical Service and their dependants.

(e)   The Commonwealth meets the cost of a wide range of drugs supplied on a doctor's prescription to persons enrolled in the Pensioner Medical Service and their dependants. (/) The Commonwealth provides benefits for medical treatment given to contributors to registered medical insurance organisations and the dependants of those contributors.

(g)   The Commonwealth meets the cost of general practitioner medical services for persons enrolled in the Pensioner Medical Service and their dependants.

C.   HOUSING BENEFITS

As announced in the Budget Speech it is proposed to improve benefits available under the Homes Savings Grant Act. The maximum grant will be increased from $500 to $750 and the maximum value of an eligible home will be increased from $17,500 to $22,500.

D.   REPATRIATION BENEFITS

(I)   PAYABLE WITHOUT MEANS TEST

War Pensions - Member -

Special rare ..

Intermediate rate ..

General rate . ,

Wife........

Each child(a)........

Special Compensation Allowances - Certain general rate pensioners with 75 per cent to 100 per cent assessed incapacity

Allowances payable under the Fifth Schedule to the Repatriation Act for certain amputations and/or loss of visionItems 1 to 6 .. .. . . ..

Items 7 to 15 .. .. ,.

Sustenance AllowanceHigher rate Lower rate ,. ,.

War WidowsPension «, 9m Domestic allowance . . .

War Orphans PensionsFather dead -

Each child.. .. Both pa rents. dead -

Each child .. .. .

Attendants Allowances - Higher rate .. .. .. .. ..

Lower rate

Education and Training Allowances (payable under Soldiers Children Education Scheme) - General, agricultural and industrial education . .

Professional education^)

(2)   PAYABLE SUBJECT TO MEANS TEST- MAXIMUM RATES

Service Pensions(c) - Member - Single ..

Married

Addition for each child

Pension for wife (if not a memberX'O First child (if no addition to members pension paid) Each other child (up to fourth child) Guardians AllowancesWhere there fs a child under 6 yean or an invalid child requiring rail-time care Other cases ..

Supplementary Assistance- for certain pensioners who pay ratu?)

(a)   As announced In the Budget Speech, it is proposed to pay war pensions to student children 16 to 20 years in those eases where the children are not In receipt of education living allowances.

(6)   Allowances for professional education are the same as those paid under the Commonwealth University Scholarship Scheme.

(c)   Service pensions are broadly the equivalent of age and invalid pensions. df) As announced in the Budget Speech, it is proposed to extend eligibility for pension, at the married rate, to tha wives of all Service pensioners and to pay the husband is web eases pension at the married rate.

P O) As announced in the Budget Speech, it to proposed to extend eligibility for supplementary assistance to married couples who pay rent.







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