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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 10 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 3163 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Speaker, the Government announced on 10 August 2000 that it would extend the eligibility for concessions on ACT Government services to all DVA Gold Card holders residing in the ACT. The decision to widen ACT Government concessions to include all DVA Gold Card holders follows the Commonwealth Government's decision to extend eligibility for the DVA Gold Card to include any veteran with eligible war service in World War 2. There are about 1,000 such veterans in the Territory.

Mr Speaker, the Bill amends the definition of "pensioner" under the Act so that all DVA Gold Card holders will be eligible for a rebate and, if they so choose, deferment of the unrebated balance of their rates.

DVA Gold Card holders will receive a rebate on their land rates, in respect of the property which they own and reside in, of 50% of their liability, up to a maximum of $250 annually.

Given that land rates are annual charges, the effective date for these amendments will be backdated to 1 July 2000. This will ensure that the rebate for rates given to DVA Gold Card holders for the financial year 2000-2001 is consistent with that provided to all other pensioners who were eligible on 1 July 2000.

As I have already mentioned, Gold Card holders will also receive a number of other ACT Government concessions, namely on electricity, motor vehicle registration, motor vehicle licences, and public transport. The cost of extending existing Government concessions is estimated to be $375,000 per annum, approximately $98,000 of which will be attributable to the extension of eligibility for rates rebates under this Bill.

The extension of pensioner concessions to all DVA Gold Card holders is in recognition of the valued contribution these veterans, especially World War 2 veterans, have made to Australia and to the people of the ACT.

Mr Speaker, in addition to the amendments to extend concessions to all DVA Gold Card holders, the Bill also includes some minor technical amendments to the Act. These amendments will commence on gazettal of the legislation.

Debate (on motion by Mr Quinlan ) adjourned.


Mr Humphries presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Acting Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister) (11.28): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I ask that that the presentation speech be incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

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