Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Pensioners and Allowees $4 billion boost under Coalition

Minister for Family and Community Services, Amanda Vanstone, said today that the Howard Government’s commitment to pensioners and allowees means that they will have received $4 billion in extra payments from March 1998 to the end of June this year than they would have if the ALP was in office.

“This highlights the increased level of support being provided to Australia’s pensioners and allowees from all Australian taxpayers,” Senator Vanstone said.

The Minister said this significant boost was provided in three elements:

  • A 2% real increase to pensions and allowances from July last year – cost in 2000/2001 – $780 m
  • A 2% advance on the March 2001 CPI adjustment, paid from July last year – cost in 2000/2001 – $540 million
  • Separate Increases in pension rates to maintain the basic level of pension at, at least 25% of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings [MTAWE] – a measure the Howard Government legislated for – cost from March 1998 to end of 2000/2001 – $2.679 billion

“These figures highlight the significant cost associated with the Federal Government’s measures to provide increased, but appropriate, support to older Australians and allowees.

“This does not include the 2% increase being paid from today – being the remainder of the regular March CPI adjustment.

“It is time that Labor started telling the true story here.

“As the attached graph highlights, pensions and allowances have risen today to $402.00 for the basic single pension. Under Labor’s practice of increasing pensions and allowances by CPI only, with NO GUARANTEE of MTAWE increases, the pension would be rising today to only $379.40.

“If Labor genuinely believes there has been some cut or reduction in pensions, why is it not giving a commitment to restore the cut? Because Labor knows it’s misleading pensioners and allowees – that there has been no cut and that FULL indexation has been provided.”