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Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Social Security Agreement Signed With Slovenia

A Social Security Agreement between Australia and the Republic of Slovenia has been signed in Vienna today by the Australian Ambassador in Vienna, His Excellency Max Hughes, and the Slovenian Ambassador, His Excellency Ernest Petric.

This Agreement represents an important extension of the social security safety net helping people in Australia, who may have worked in Slovenia, to receive a Slovenian pension. Similarly, it will enable people to claim an Australian pension by counting periods of insurance in Slovenia towards Australia’s residence requirements.

Under the Agreement, former Australian residents will be able to claim Australian pensions without leaving Slovenia and Slovenians living in Australia will be able to lodge claims for Slovenian pensions through Centrelink.

This is the fifth new Agreement that has been signed since we came into government and will potentially benefit Australia’s population of 7000 Slovenian born residents, as well as those former Australian residents now living in Slovenia.

We have also revised seven other Agreements, bringing our total number of international social security partnerships to twelve. Those agreements being with Austria, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Portugal, The Netherlands, Spain and the USA. A new Agreement with Germany also starts on 1 January 2003.

Australia’s Agreement partners pay about 85 000 foreign pensions into Australia, while about 35 000 former Australian residents are paid Australian pensions in those countries.

These Agreements give people more freedom to move between Australia and other countries, knowing that their pension rights will be recognised in both countries.