Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

ACT Seniors Week

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, today acknowledged the start of Seniors Week in the ACT.

"This is an appropriate time that we all, as an entire community, pay tribute to the valuable role that so many seniors play in our community," Minister Brough said.

"Many seniors are involved in volunteer activities in their local communities, using their skills and breadth of experience to help build stronger communities.

"The Coalition Government acknowledges the important role it has in supporting seniors, by ensuring that since 1998, pension payments not only keep pace with inflation, but also reflect movements in Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE.)

"As a consequence, pensioners are now $66.20 better off a fortnight than they would have been if increases remained linked only to CPI.

"Last week I announced that most Centrelink pensions and payments would rise by CPI from March 20, with the maximum single age pension rising from $512.10 to $525.10 a fortnight.

"It is through strong economic management that the Government is able to deliver these greater benefits to pensioners.

"The Australian Government continues to assist pensioners by improving incentives to save for retirement and, from 20 September 2007, the pension assets test taper rate will be halved.

"The rate will go from $3 to $1.50 a fortnight, for every $1,000 of assets above the free area.

"Based on the new Age Pension rates, a single retiree home owner could have around an extra $177,000 of assets before losing the Age Pension, while a couple could have approximately $294,500 of extra assets.

"I would encourage the ACT community to use this week to pay tribute the vital role of seniors in our community."