Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Pension changes from 1 July 2005

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Peter Dutton, Minister for Workforce Participation

About 900,000 part-pension recipients may get pension rate increases of up to $12.00 a fortnight from 1 July following the annual indexation of social security assets and income test thresholds.The part pension rate increases will benefit a wide range of people including Age Pension recipients, carers, sole parents and people with disabilities.

The indexation rise means that many part rate pensioners will get an increase in payments while a number of people who were previously unable to get a pension because of their income or assets may now be eligible.

Part rate pensioners who can potentially benefit from the rate increases include about 700,000 recipients of payments administered by the Department of Family and Community Services including the Age Pension, Carer Payment and Wife Pension.

More than 200,000 people in receipt of part payments from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations including the Disability Support Pension and Parenting Payment Single will also potentially benefit from the indexation-linked rise.

The allowable assets limit will increase by $4,000 to $157,000 for a single homeowner while the limit for homeowner couples will rise by $5,500 to $223,000.

This means that the majority of single homeowners who receive less than the maximum rate of pension because of their assets will receive an extra $312.00 a year or $12 a fortnight while most couples in the same situation will get an extra $429.00 a year or $16.50 a fortnight.

Most pensioners who receive less than the maximum rate of pension because of their income, will also get an increase in their pension.

Pensioners will also be able to earn more income without having their payments reduced.

Centrelink will automatically pay all relevant increases to eligible pensioners from 1 July.

The Howard Government is committed to providing financial security for older Australians and our strong economic management enables the indexation of income and assets thresholds, which protect their living standards.

In November 1997 the Howard Government legislated to set pensions at 25 per cent of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings as well as continuing to raise pensions in line with the CPI.