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Friday, 25 May 1973
Page: 2711

Mr BARNARD(Bass- Minister for

Defence, Minister for the Navy, Minister for the Army, Minister for Air and Minister for Supply) (2.41) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to make provision for a contributory retirement benefits scheme for Papuan and New Guinean members of the defence force. As far back as 30 December 1971, the then Minister for External Territories announced that his Government had approved details of a retirement benefits scheme for these members but the scheme was not introduced. In fact, deductions have been made from the pay of many members since July 1966 in anticipation of its introduction. I am pleased therefore to introduce this Bill to provide at long last a scheme which has been promised for so many years.

The scheme for servicemen is based on and is compatible with the superannuation scheme for the Papua New Guinea Public Service and police that came into operation on 1 January 1972, which will also be the commencing date for the servicemens' scheme. It has necessarily been designed, however, to meet Service requirements and incorporate a number of features based on the provisions of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits scheme. The scheme is to be administered by a statutory board which will have Service representation. Contributions, which are to bc paid into a fund, are to be at the rate of 6 per cent of a member's pay, the same as required for the Public Service and police scheme and benefits are to be similar. The maximum pension for a member serving to age 60 years after 35 years contributory service is 50 per cent of the average pay received over the final 3 years of service.

To take account of the particular requirements of the Services, however, reduced pensions at retiring ages earlier than 60 years have been provided. The minimum qualifying period of service for pension is 20 years. There is provision also for the payment of invalidity benefits, widow's and children's pensions and for commutation to a lump sum of up to one third of a member's retirement pension. Past contributory service and noncontributory service of members prior to July 1966 is to be recognised for the purpose of calculating the amounts of pension benefit entitlement. That is the essence of the scheme. The provisions are simple and uncluttered. They have been endorsed by the Administrator's Executive Council. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Bonnett) adjourned.

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