Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Pension increases for carers and people with disability

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
  • Yvette D'Ath MP, Member for Petrie

More than 870,000 disability support pensioners and carers across Australia will receive increased pension payments under much-needed changes to the pension system.The Australian Government’s Secure and Sustainable Pension Reforms will improve the pension’s adequacy, simplify the way it is delivered, and secure its sustainability for the most vulnerable Australians who depend on it.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today met carer Lorraine Lockrey and her son Reece, who has cerebral palsy, to explain to them how they will benefit from the changes.

Ms Macklin was joined by the Member for Petrie, Yvette D’Ath, at Cascade Services, a centre for the arts and environment that supports people with cerebral palsy and related disability in Redcliffe, Queensland.

‘When the Australian Government undertook the comprehensive review of the pension system last year, carers and people with disability told us again and again how difficult it was to make ends meet,’ Ms Macklin said.

‘In these difficult economic times, the Government has overhauled and reformed the pension system to improve its adequacy for the 3.3 million age and disability pensioners, carers and veterans who depend on it.

‘Disability support pensioners and people on the carer payment will receive the full benefit of pension increases.’

Mr Shorten welcomed the pension reforms and said they would help disability pensioners and carers across the country.

‘These reforms will deliver improved pension payments to more than 870,000 disability pensioners and carers and help them meet rising living costs in the future,’ Mr Shorten said.

Mrs D’Ath said more than 21,000 age and disability pensioners, carers and veterans in the electorate of Petrie would benefit from the changes to the pension payments.

‘This extra money will be a great help for local carers and people with disability, many of whom are doing it tough,’ Mrs D’Ath said.

‘The Rudd Government has responded to community concerns about the adequacy of pension rates, and has delivered new pension payments that will give these people the certainty and security they deserve.’

A single pensioner on the maximum rate will receive an increase to the base pension, the new Pension Supplement, as well as recent indexation rises.

This brings the total increase for single pensioners on the maximum rate to $70.83 per fortnight, with total pension payments worth $671.90 a fortnight.

Pension payments for singles are now set at two thirds of the rate paid to couples combined.

The total increase for couple pensioners combined on the maximum rate is $29.93 per fortnight, bringing total pension payments to $1,013 per fortnight.

An annual $600 Carer Supplement will also be paid to recipients of Carer Allowance for each person being cared for.

An additional $600 Carer Supplement will be paid to recipients of the Carer Payment, DVA Carer Service Pension, recipients of both Wife Pension and Carer Allowance and recipients of both DVA Partner Service Pension and Carer Allowance.

The first payments of Carer Supplement were made in June 2009 and future payments will be paid, from 1 July 2010.

Full details of the changes to rates and thresholds are available at FaHCSIA’s website.