Bill calls on Gov­ern­ment to in­dex ben­e­fit pay­ments

Townsville Bulletin - - Our Defenders -

SUP­PORT: Sen­a­tor Ian Mac­don­ald the La­bor gov­ern­ment

must stop treat­ing vet­er­ans like sec­ond-class cit­i­zens TOWNSVILLE LNP politi­cians have de­manded their La­bor col­leagues sup­port a bill which will bring the de­fence force pen­sion in line with other pen­sions around Aus­tralia.

Shadow spokesman on the De­fence Force and De­fence Sup­port, Sen­a­tor Ian Mac­don­ald, said the La­bor gov­ern­ment must stop treat­ing de­fence force vet­er­ans like sec­ond-class cit­i­zens.

El­i­gi­ble re­tired per­son­nel who served for more than 20 years could ap­ply for the De­fence Force Re­tire­ment Ben­e­fit which is like a su­per­an­nu­a­tion fund mem­bers pay into an­nu­ally.

While t he re­cip­i­ents of other pen­sions have them in­dexed yearly on a range of in­dices in­clud­ing Male To­tal Av­er­age Weekly Earn­ings and the Pen­sioner and Ben­e­fi­ciary Liv­ing Cost In­dex, de­fence mem­bers only re­ceive a CPI in­crease which has caused their pay­ments to fall fur­ther and fur­ther be­hind each year since 1973 when t h e c h a n g e s wer e made.

Around 3500 Townsville res­i­dents are re­cip­i­ents of the pen­sion.

Sen­a­tor Mac­don­ald urged the La­bor Party to sup­port the De­fence Force Re­tire­ment and Death Ben­e­fits Amend­ment ( Fair I ndex­a­tion) Bill that was in­tro­duced into the Se­nate by Op­po­si­tion spokesman on Vete r a n s ’ A f f a i r s , S e n a t o r Mic h a e l Ro n a l d s o n , l a s t year. ‘‘ I can’t un­der­stand why La­bor is so ve­he­mently and vo­cally op­posed to a Bill that would al­low the Gov­ern­ment to in­dex pen­sion pay­ments to Aus­tralia’s 56,000 re­tired de­fence per­son­nel in the same way as other gov­ern­ment pen­sions,’’ Sen­a­tor Mac­don­ald said.

‘‘ This is the right thing to do, given the unique na­ture of de­fence ser­vice and the risks and sac­ri­fices in­volved in serv­ing ones coun­try, es­pe­cially in war zones.’’

Sen­a­tor Mac­don­ald said the Bill re­flected the wishes of vet­er­ans’ or­gan­i­sa­tions and would bring vet­er­ans su­per­an­nu­a­tion pay­ments i nto line with the aged pen­sion.

Vet­er­ans’ wi­d­ows would also ben­e­fit from the Bill.

‘‘ I strongly be­lieve our vets de­serve to be treated fairly and not be treated as sec­ondc l a s s c i t i z e n s , ’ ’ S e n a t o r Mac­don­ald said.

‘‘ If vets’ pay­ments had in­creased in line with the aged pen­sion in March 2010, el­i­gi­ble mil­i­tary su­per­an­nu­ants would have re­ceived up to an ex­tra $ 28.40 a fort­night.

‘‘ With the cost of liv­ing soar­ing and new taxes be­ing im­posed by La­bor, this ex­tra money is not just a ne­ces­sity but it is the right thing to do.’’

A pe­ti­tion sup­port­ing the Bill, pre­pared by Her­bert MP Ewen Jones can be signed at Sen­a­tor Mac­don­ald’s of­fice, 131 Den­ham St, Townsville, or at Mr Jones’s of­fice, cor­ner of Nathan St and Ross River Rd, Aitken­vale.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.