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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2749 ..

Pensioners and social security recipients

(Question No 224)

Mr Cornwell asked the Chief Minister, upon notice, on 26 June 2002:

(1) Is a review of concessions allowed to pensioners, social security recipients etc for ACT Government taxes and charges currently being undertaken.

(2) If so, what are the (a) terms of reference of the review (b) who is undertaking the review and (c) what areas of concessions does it cover.

(3) When will the review be completed and will copies be available to interested parties, including myself.

Mr Quinlan: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes. A review of ACT Government concessions is currently being undertaken.

(2a) The terms of reference for the concessions review are:

consider concessions currently provided to individuals, households and community organisations;

consult widely with the community, particularly those groups identified by the Poverty Task Group as having difficulty in accessing resources; and

report to Government on the effectiveness and adequacy of current concessions and rebates in assisting people affected by poverty to participate in the community.

(2b) The Chief Minister's Department is coordinating the review in collaboration with other Government agencies. A Joint Community Government Reference Group has been established to monitor the review process and provide strategic advice on possible options for the future. The Reference Group comprises representatives from peak community organisations including the Council on the Ageing (ACT), the ACT Council of Social Service, the Youth Coalition of the ACT, Volunteering ACT, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Consultative Council, the Migrant Resource Centre, the Ministerial Advisory Council on Women's Affairs, ACT Shelter, the Disabled Peoples Initiative, Health Care Consumers, and CARE Financial Counselling Services.

(2c) The concessions review covers concessional arrangements available for individuals and households, including payments made direct to individuals or households by the ACT Government or its agencies, or goods and services provided at a subsidised cost because of the circumstances of the individual or the household. It also includes concessions provided to community organisations and religious groups.

(3) It is anticipated that a report to Government will be completed by the end of 2002, which is consistent with the timeframe set by the previous Government in its response to the final report of the ACT Poverty Task Group, "Sharing the Benefits". This timeframe however, will be subject to ensuring that the community has a full opportunity to comment on an Options Paper, which will be released for community consideration in August 2002.

The final report to Government will be made available to the public.

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