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Commonwealth home savings grant scheme

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No • 83




The Commonwealth Minister for Housing, Dame Annabelle

Rankin, said today that the two extensions to the Home Savings

Grant Scheme announced by the Prime Minister in his recent policy

speech would date back to 28th November, 1966. This was the

first day of business after the result of the election was known.

The Scheme will be extended to include widowed persons

aged less than thirty-six years who have one or more dependent

children, and the limit on the value of the home, including land,

will be increased from 14,000 dollars to 15,000 dollars.

In effect, all eligible widowed persons who entered

into a contract to buy or build a home on or after 28th November,

1966 and all eligible persons who acquired a house and land

costing not more than 15,000 dollars on or after that date, may

qualify for the grant.

Dame Annabelle explained that, in the case of widows

11 and widowers, dependent children would include children under the

age of sixteen. She said that, like all other young persons

eligible for the grant, widowed persons will be required to have

saved in a Home Savings Account with a bank, or with a building

or housing society. However, this requirement would not apply

immediately. Widowed persons would be allowed until 31st

December, 1967 to transfer their savings into one of the

acceptable forms.

Widowed persons will be required to show that they

have saved for at least the three years immediately preceding the

date they acquired or commenced to build their own home. To meet

this requirement, savings in an acceptable form of the deceased

spouse up to the date of death and bequeathed to the widowed person

would be accepted as his or her savings, as also would savings held

in the Deceased's Estate.


As was announced in our policy speech last year,

Parliament is also to be asked to give my Department certain new

discretionary powers designed to meet cases of hardship under

the Scheme. These powers will date back to the start of the

Scheme on 2nd December, 1963. .(Details of these powers, as set

out in the supplementary statement to the main policy speech, are


Dame Annabelle added that the Government has also

decided to simplify some of the requirements under the Scheme to

make it easier to submit an application and to reduce the

administrative work involved. The details are still being

worked out and will be announced in due course in Parliament.

All these changes will involve amendments to the

legislation, which can only be made, of course, with the approval

of the Parliament. The amendments will be introduced as early

as possible, but some time may elapse before they become law and

the Department can put them into operation. In the meantime,

officers of the Department of Housing in the capital cities will

be very happy to answer any enquiries put to them.

7th February, 1967.




In the 1963 Policy Speech we undertook to provide a Commonwealth grant of El for every £3 saved by a person under 36 years of age to assist young married people to buy or build their own homes.

The maximum grant payable to any young couple is $5000

To be eligible for the grant, the savings must have been deposited over a period of at least three years in a Home Savings Account with a bank, or with a building or housing society, or used for purposes of acquiring a home.

Our Home Savings Grant Scheme has been in operation for nearly 2- years. Some 64,000 couples have received the grant and grant-s totalling almost $29 million have been paid.

Because the Scheme is a novel one and is still in its early years of operation, cases have arisen where, due to genuine misunderstanding or lack of awareness of all the requirements, some applicants have failed to qualify for the grant.

While we wish all applications to be lodged within twelve months of buying orbuilding a home, we propose to give the Secretary of the Department of Housing certain discretionary powers so that cases may be treated sympathetically on their individual merits: These discretionary powers will apply to eligible persons who bought or commenced to build their homes on or after December 2, 1963.

The matters in respect of which a discretion might be given are:-(a) To extend the time limit for the lodgment of applications from three months to twelve months

and to empower the Department to accept applications lodged within a further period if circumstances suggest that this is justified.

(b) To empower the Department to disregard ownership of "another dwelling house" where it is satisfied that it would be unreasonable to regard the dwel1iig house as the matrimonial home or suitable for this


(c) To empower the Department to determine that any interest in land that it considers appropriate for the purposes of the Act be accepted as an "approved interest".

(d) To give the Department a discretionary power to accept savings made in a period of three years ending on a date not more than fourteen days before or after the prescribed date in circumstances it

considers reasonable. The definition of the prescribed date will not be altered.

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(e) To permit the Department to pay a grant to a person who has been widowed on or after the prescribed date of the amount of the grant that would have been paid to one or both of the

couple if the spouse had not died.

(f) To give the Department a discretionary power to permit an applicant's savings period to be broken for a short period should there appear to be good or sufficient reasons.

All these proposed new discretionary powers are designed to meet cases of hardship that have already arisen. The discretionary powers will, therefore, apply from the date of commencement of the Scheme.