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Thursday, 21 September 1972
Page: 1131

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) (Minister for Air) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate the second reading speech in Hansard. (The document read as follows) - The Bill before the Senate is in accordance with the usual practice of the Government to keep the rates of pensions and allowances payable to seamen war pensioners under the Seamen's War Pensions and Allowances Act in line with the similar rates payable to other war pensioners under the Repatriation Act. The main purpose of the Bill is to increase, in relation to seamen, the various rates of war pensions as announced by the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) in his Budget speech and being put into effect by the current Repatriation Bill. Under the Bill the existing basic general rate pension is increased from $12 to $14 per week and the existing basic widow's pension is increased from $18.25 to $20 per week. As explained earlier under the Repatriation Bill, the different levels of general rate and war widows pensions, according to rank held during war service, are being discontinued. The corresponding differential rates in the First Schedule to the Seamen's War Pensions and Allowances Act, according to rate of pay at time of war injury, are being discontinued under this Bill.

The 'intermediate' rate of war pension is being increased by $2.75 per week to $34, and the ordinary weekly rate of allowance for an attendant for a specially handicapped seaman pensioner is increased from $9.50 to $10.50, the special rate payable where both arms have been lost being increased from $16 to $17.50 per week. The Bill also increases the pension rates in respect of the children of deceased seamen coming under the Act. The weekly rate for each child rises to $7.35. Where the mother is dead also, the rate rises to $14.70 for each child. Under the Repatriation Bill, as previously explained, in the case of certain children receiving full-time education, amendments are being made in respect of the continuation of their pensions until the age of 21 is reached. Simi lar amendments are being made to the Seamen's War Pensions and Allowances Act under this Bill.

The Bill does not have to provide for the increase of $3.50 to $48 per week in the rate of TPI pension, or for the various increases in the weekly amounts payable in respect of the disabilities described in the Fifth Schedule to the Repatriation Act, as the increased rates under that Act will apply automatically to seamen pensioners by virtue of section 22a of the Seamen's War Pensions and Allowances Act. The increases in pensions will, as usual, be payable on the first pension pay day after the date on which the Act receives the royal assent. I commend the Bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator Willesee) adjourned.

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