Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Vanstone confirms pensions and allowances to rise from today

Minister for Family and Community Services, Amanda Vanstone, has confirmed that pensions will rise from today – for the first time breaking the $400.00 mark.

“This represents a significant milestone for older Australians,’ Senator Vanstone said.

“While the Opposition and, with Labor encouragement and goading – some lobby groups – continue to play politics with this issue, the reality is that today’s inflation adjustment to pensions and allowances represents FULL CPI indexation.

“There is no cut – there is no reduction in FULL entitlements.

“The Government, from today, is meeting its commitment – as acknowledged by the Australian Council of Social Services – to ensure that income support for pensioners and allowees keeps pace with increases in the cost of living.

“While Labor’s Wayne Swan and others continue to peddle misinformation in what can be nothing more than an attempt to scare older Australians, the simple facts are these:

  • Pensioners and allowees received a 2% ADVANCE – or $7.45 – on the March 20 CPI increase, paid from July 1, last year. This advance cost taxpayers $540million to provide
  • Pensioners from today will receive the balance of the March 20 CPI adjustment – another 2% or $7.90
  • In addition, pensioners and allowees received a separate 2% increase last July, to compensate for the introduction of GST”The cumulative effect of these increases, combined with this Government’s commitment to maintain pensions at, at least 25% of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings [MTAWE] represents a stark contrast for pensioners and allowees between the Howard Government and the Opposition.
  • Under the Howard Government – the single basic pension rises to $402.00
  • Under Labor, based on its practice of CPI increases only and NO guarantee of MTAWE adjustments – the pension would be rising to just $379.40″Labor can huff and puff all it likes. The fact is pensioners are receiving more under this Government. No wonder we’ve seen no commitments from labor. No policies. No promises – hardly even loose suggestions from labor of its plans to provide income support to older Australians and allowees.”