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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Age pensioners to receive $83 boost this month

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Peter Dutton, Minister for Workforce Participation

Age pensioners are set to receive up to $83 extra in their pension this month, with the second instalment of the new Utilities Allowance and the Telephone Allowance to be paid in addition to an ongoing increase in the pension.The September instalment of the Utilities Allowance of $50.60 is part of the Howard Government’s commitment to provide additional assistance to senior Australians, and helps age pensioners with utility bills such as electricity and gas.

Pensioners eligible for Telephone Allowance will also receive $20.40 due to be paid from 20 September.

The ongoing increase to pensions and allowances of up to $12.60 per fortnight will benefit around 3.9 million pensioners and adults on income support with increases to be paid from 20 September 2005.

The maximum single rate of Age Pension will rise by $12.60 to $488.90 a fortnight, while the maximum partnered pension will increase by $10.50 to $408.20 a fortnight for each member of a couple.

The pension indexation increases were jointly announced today by the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, and the Minister for Workforce Participation, Peter Dutton.

Senator Patterson said: “Since March 1996, single and partnered pensions have increased by almost 40%. Part of this increase is due to the fact that the Howard Government has guaranteed through legislation, that the maximum single rate of pension will be set to at least 25% of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE).

“This means that single pensions have increased by over $50 per fortnight and partnered pensions by over $43 per fortnight more than they otherwise would have under Labor’s policies.

“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.

“Nearly 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, 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 (Single and Partnered) and Disability Support Pension.

“Other payments that are rising include Partner Allowance, 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 receive 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 MTAWE and statutory increases provided with the introduction of the new tax system in July 2000.