Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

New social security agreement with USA starts today

People who have divided their working lives between Australia and the United States of America will benefit from the start of the first ever social security agreement between both countries, Acting Minister for Family and Community Services, Larry Anthony announced today.

“Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Amanda Vanstone, signed the agreement in Canberra last September with the US Ambassador, His Excellency the Honourable J. Thomas Schieffer.

“These agreements ensure that countries contribute fairly to the pensions of people who have spent part of their working life in a particular country.

“This agreement is a huge step forward in Australia’s move to secure social security agreements with countries around the globe. Australia now has social security agreements with Austria, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and the USA.

“Also, a new agreement with Germany is expected to start on 1 January 2003 and we are close to finalising agreements with Belgium, Chile, Croatia, Norway, Slovenia and Switzerland.

“Australia’s agreement partners currently pay around $435 million per year in pensions into Australia, while Australia pays around $158 million a year in pensions into those countries. This positive flow is to be expected as many Australian citizens have migrated from other countries and the trend will continue with the agreements between Australia, the USA and Germany.

“This agreement with the USA, and the revised agreement with Portugal which also starts today, will include exemptions from Australia’s Superannuation Guarantee scheme. These provisions will eliminate the need for double contributions for workers sent temporarily between Australia and the USA, and Australia and Portugal.

“Australians working temporarily overseas will remain subject to Australia’s Superannuation Guarantee and will not have to make contributions to the another country’ social security systems.

“Similarly, workers sent temporarily to Australia from those countries will continue to be covered by their home countries’ social security systems, and will not have to pay under our Superannuation Guarantee arrangements,” Mr Anthony said.