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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

New Social Security Agreement with Croatia

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced that the Social Security Agreement between Australia and the Republic of Croatia came into effect from 1 July 2004.

Senator Patterson said that this Agreement represents an important extension of the social security safety net helping people in Australia, who have worked in Croatia, to receive a Croatian pension.

“It will enable people to claim an Australian pension by counting periods of insurance in Croatia towards Australia’s residence requirements.

The Agreement covers Australian age pension and disability support pension for people who are severely disabled, and for Croatia it covers old-age pension, anticipatory pension, disability pension and survivor pension.

It is estimated that over 2,000 people residing in Australia and Croatia will benefit by being able to claim payments to which they currently do not have access.

Also, it will potentially benefit Australia’s population of around 50,000 Croatian-born residents and any other residents who may have worked in Croatia.

The new Agreement includes provisions covering Australia’s Superannuation scheme, similar to those that are included in our Agreements with Chile, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United States.

These provisions will eliminate the need for double contributions when Australians work temporarily in Croatia or when Croatian workers come to Australia to work temporarily.

The Agreement with Croatia increases Australia’s Social Security Agreement network to 16. Australia also has Social Security partnerships with Austria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Portugal, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and the United States.

Australia’s Agreement partners pay over 109,000 pensions into Australia, while about 39,000 former Australian residents are paid Australian pensions in those countries,” Senator Patterson said.”

More information on the agreement is available by calling Centrelink on 131 673 or by visiting either of these websites: International Agreements or Centrelink website (www.centrelink.gov.au).