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Thursday, 14 September 1972
Page: 1515


Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

(1)   How many deserted wives in New South Wales are receiving pensions.

(2)   What sum was paid in respect of these pensions in 1971-72.

(3)   At what stage does the Commonwealth accept responsibility for the payment.

(4)   How many wives of prison inmates in New South Wales are receiving pensions.

(5)   What sum was paid to these women in 1971-72 by (a) the Commonwealth, (b) the State of New South Wales.


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

A wife who has been deserted by her husband without just cause or whose husband has been imprisoned, may qualify for Commonwealth widow's pension 6 months after the date of her husband's desertion or imprisonment. During the initial period of 6 months such a woman may be assisted by the State Government if she has one or more children and is suffering hardship. Under the States Grants (Deserted Wives) Act, 1968, the Commonwealth reimburses the States half the cost of assistance provided to such mothers or half the amount of widow's pension which would have been payable had they been qualified to receive it, whichever ls the less. In the light of the above, the information sought by the honourable member is as follows:

(1)   The number of deserted wives in New South Wales in receipt of Commonwealth widow's pension at 30th June 1972 was 8,317. Of these, 6,981 were receiving Class A widow's pension and 1,336 Class B widow's pension. The New South Wales Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare has advised that at the same date State assistance was being paid to 1,257 deserted wives with children.

(2)   Expenditure by the Commonwealth on widows' pensions is not maintained separately for each category of widow. Similarly, separate records are not maintained by the States of the amount of assistance provided for each category of persons assisted.

(3)   Commonwealth widow's pension foi deserted wives commences from the pay-day following the date they become qualified for the pension or from the pay-day following the date they lodge a claim, whichever is the later.

(4)   At 301h June 1972 Commonwealth widow's pension was being paid to 171 wives of prison inmates in New South Wales. Of this number 167 were receiving Class A widow's pension and 4 Class B widow's pension. The New South Wales Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare has advised that at the same date State assistance was being paid to 197 wives of prison inmates with children.

(5)   See answer to question (2) above.







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