Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Questions without Notice
Pensions and Benefits
I thank Senator Leyonhjelm for the question and for his provision of some notice of it to me, shortly before question time. The government is committed to ensuring Australia's strong welfare system is affordable and sustainable for the future, while providing targeted support to Australians most in need. The government has also committed to ensuring the residency based nature of the welfare system. As part of the budget brought down last night, the government will strengthen the residency requirement for pensioners.
From 1 July next year, to qualify for the age pension or disability support pension a person will be required to have 10 years continuous residence in Australia, with five years of this residence during either their working life or time not receiving an activity-tested income support payment. In circumstances where the person does not meet these requirements, they will be required to have 15 years continuous Australian residence before being eligible to receive the age pension or DSP. This measure ensures pensions are better targeted to those who have resided in Australia for an extended period, including during their working life, or who have been self-reliant.