Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

$10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy through Parliament

Around 4 million pensioners, carers, people with disability and veterans and around 2 million families will receive lump sum payments from 8 December 2008, after legislation passed the Parliament last night.

This immediate relief is part of the Rudd Government’s early and decisive response to the global financial crisis. The $10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy will support pensioners and families and boost the Australian economy.

Single pensioners will receive a payment of $1,400, couples $2,100 and Carer Allowance recipients will get $1,000 for each person in their care. Families will receive $1,000 for each child eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A.

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders will also receive payments of $1,400 for singles, and $2,100 for couples.

We know what many pensioners and families are finding it hard to make ends meet with cost of living increases and the impact of the global financial crisis.

Pensioners and families are counting on these payments to provide some relief in the lead up to Christmas.

Lump-sum payments to pensioners are a down payment on longer term reform to the pension system to be delivered in the 2009-10 Budget context.

Most payments will be made automatically through Centrelink and the Department of Veterans Affairs in the fortnight beginning 8 December 2008.

Payments will be non taxable and not included for income testing purposes.