Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

No Cuts to Pensions and Allowances

Pensions and allowances will not be reduced now or in the future, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, said today.

“The Australian Government is committed to providing incentives and opportunities for people to participate in the workforce while retaining a vital safety net for those in need,” she said.

“I reject Labor’s false claims that the Government will cut pensions and allowances.”

Senator Patterson said the Opposition family and community services spokesman, Wayne Swan, had resorted to blatant scaremongering and misrepresentation of Government policies.

“This Government will not cut payments for sole parents, disability support pensions and carers. They will not be cut now, nor will they be cut in the future,” she said.

Senator Patterson said rather than cutting pensions, the Howard Government had increased pensions by Male Total Average Weekly Earnings, leaving pensioners $43 a fortnight better off than they would have been under previous indexation arrangements.

The Government through the Working Credit scheme had allowed 60,000 people on benefits every fortnight to have the opportunity to keep more of their Centrelink income support payments when they start work, helping them move from welfare to work.

Senator Patterson said the Government was committed to its reform agenda to ensure that there were as many Australians as possible with an opportunity to find work.

“We are committed to helping people increase their participation in the workforce by providing more incentives to work and reducing the disincentives from moving from benefits to paid employment.

“It is absolutely vital to do everything we can to give people assistance to be in the workforce. We have created almost an extra 1.3 million jobs, giving people more opportunities to find work.”