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Wednesday, 20 September 1972
Page: 1623

Mr TURNER (BRADFIELD, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Minister for Social Services. I refer to proposals outlined in the Budget for the amelioration of the means test in respect of age pensions. Firstly, will the relevant Bill clarify the entitlement of annuitants, superannuitants and life tenants as well as others? Secondly, when will the Bill be introduced? Thirdly, what is the date from which it is intended to operate? Fourthly, if payments cannot be made immediately upon the relevant Bill coming into operation, will the increased pensions be backdated to that point of time? Finally, what is the latest date when applications will have to be lodged to attract the increased pensions from the outset, particularly by applicants not previously eligible for any pension at all?

Mr WENTWORTH (MACKELLAR, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Social Services) - The honourable member has asked a number of questions. I would say first that the Bill to be introduced will indeed clarify the position, as he asked in the first part of his question. I hope that the Bill will be ready to receive the royal assent early next week and will operate from that date; this depends upon the Parliament, of course. Entitlements to increased pension by reason of the superannuation provisions contained in the Bill will also date from the date of the royal assent. However, 1 should make 2 things clear: First, because of the clerical work involved which is quite considerable, the increased pensions will probably not be payable in regard to superannuation - I speak only in regard to superannuation - until early next year. However, in regard to existing pensioners they will be backdated to the date of the royal assent. Secondly, the additional entitlement for new applicants - not for existing pensioners - will date from the date of application. As I have said, I hope that the royal assent will be able to be given to this Bill early next week.

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