Thursday, 21 October 2010
One of the most important things a society can do is look after older members. Indeed, the first payment issued from the Commonwealth government was the age pension, instituted in 1909. Labor continues in that proud tradition today. In the last term of government we increased the single age pension from 25 per cent of male total average weekly earnings to 27.7 per cent. This was the largest increase in the pension since its inception. The Gillard government is also committed to raising the minimum superannuation contribution from nine to 12 per cent.
Another important principle is ensuring that people live in homes that are appropriately set up for their needs. I am delighted to be joined in the gallery today by Charmian Leigh, who is here with Rosemary Chivers and Gabrielle Leigh and my parents Barbara and Michael.
Charmian is an occupational therapist whose work aims to ensure that veterans can continue to function in their own homes by installing a range of mobility aids such as ramps and handrails. I know one hospital in Sydney that refers to this work as that of the ‘geriatric flying squad’. It is critical to providing older Australians with dignity in retirement, and I could not be more proud of Charmian and her work.