Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Pension and adult allowance rates to increase from 20 March

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Peter Dutton, Minister for Workforce Participation

More than 3.9 million pensioners and adults receiving income support will benefit from a rise in adult pension and allowance rates of up to $5.60 per fortnight from 20 March 2005.The rate increases were jointly announced today by the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, and the Minister for Workforce Participation, Peter Dutton.

The maximum single rate of pension will rise by $5.60 to $476.30 a fortnight, while the maximum partnered pension will increase by $4.70 to $397.70 a fortnight for each member of a couple.

Senator Patterson said the current boost to payments was due to a rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the six months to December 2004.

Senator Patterson said: “Since the Coalition has been in Government, single pensions have risen by more than $140 a fortnight and partnered pensions have increased by more than $117 a fortnight, which is a major achievement during a period of fiscal restraint and low price inflation.

“The increases are further evidence of the Howard Government’s record of strong economic management, which has overseen a sustained period of growth in pension incomes.

“More than two million people on payments administered by the Department of Family and Community Services will receive the rate increases. This includes pension entitlements such as Age Pension, Wife Pension and Carer Payment and Special Benefit (for those on the adult allowance rate). Other rises include Maternity Payment and maximum rates of Rent Assistance.”

Mr Dutton said: “The increases will also be welcomed by about 1.9 million people on payments administered by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations including Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payment and Disability Support Pension.

“The increases will apply to payments including Parenting Payment (single rate) and Disability Support Pension paid at the adult pension rate.

“Adult allowance rates that are rising include Newstart Allowance, Partner Allowance, Parenting Payment (partnered rate), Mature Age Allowance, Widow Allowance, and Sickness Allowance.”

The Ministers said that the increase in payment rates would also lead to higher income cut-off amounts allowing more people to become newly entitled to a pension or allowance.

Pensions have increased under the Howard Government based on a combination of CPI-linked indexation increases, the Government’s legislated commitment to link pensions to 25 per cent of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings and statutory increases provided with the introduction of the new tax system in July 2000.