Australian Government, 2008‑09 Budget
Budget

Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Election Commitments

A Place to Call Home

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 25.0 25.0 25.0 25.0

The Government will provide $150.0 million over five years (including $50.0 million in 2012‑13) to deliver up to 600 homes across Australia for families and individuals who are homeless. States and Territories will be provided with funding for the construction or purchase of homes or the remediation of existing public housing stock. States and Territories will match this contribution through the provision of funding or in‑kind support including the provision of land.

Homeless families and individuals will be able to live in supported housing for the first 12 months, after which the house will be transferred to the general public housing pool and their tenancy extended in accordance with the normal tenancy arrangements applied to public housing. State and Territory housing authorities will be required to provide replacement properties from their general pool of housing when this occurs to ensure there is an ongoing supply of homes for the homeless.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Disability Assistance Package — redirection of funds to the Commonwealth State Territory Disability Agreement

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - - -

The Government will redirect funding of $901.2 million over four years from the Australian Government's Disability Assistance Package (DAP), to the Commonwealth State Territory Disability Agreement (CSTDA). The funds to be transferred in each year are: $124.5 million in 2008‑09; $154.4 million in 2009‑10; $252.6 million in 2010‑11; and $369.7 million in 2011‑12.

From 1 July 2008, the States and Territories will be responsible for delivering accommodation support services that were to be delivered by the Australian Government under the DAP. This is consistent with the States' general responsibilities under the CSTDA for disability accommodation services. These services will assist parent carers, aged 65 or more, to obtain supported accommodation in the community for their adult children with a disability.

Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates. This measure delivers on the Government's commitment to responsible economic management.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Helping Seniors Make Ends Meet — Broadband for Seniors

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 5.0 5.0 5.0 -

The Government will provide $15.0 million over three years from 2008‑09 to allow up to 2,000 community organisations to purchase desktop computers and broadband connections in order to run free internet workshops for seniors and provide them with free access to the internet. Grants of up to $10,000 will be available for these organisations to expand access to the internet for senior Australians.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Helping Seniors Make Ends Meet — Seniors Concession Allowance — increase

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - - -

The Government will provide $324.4 million over five years (including $40.5 million in 2007‑08) to increase the rate of the Seniors Concession Allowance. From March 2008, the annual rate of the allowance increased from $218 to $500. Seniors Concession Allowance is paid to Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders and certain Department of Veterans' Affairs Gold Card holders. The allowance will be paid quarterly, rather than twice a year, to better align payments with incoming bills.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $1.1 million in 2007‑08, $0.1 million in 2008‑09, $0.1 million in 2009‑10, $0.1 million in 2010‑11 and $0.1 million in 2011‑12.

Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Helping Seniors Make Ends Meet — Telephone Allowance — assistance with home internet connections

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 6.8 31.5 36.0 42.4 47.5
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.6 2.6 2.8 3.1 3.1
Total 7.4 34.1 38.8 45.5 50.6

The Government will provide $176.5 million over five years to increase the Telephone Allowance from $88 to $132 a year from 20 March 2008 for all income support recipients of Age Pension age, Carer Payment recipients, Disability Support Pensioners and holders of a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card who have a home internet service. All veterans eligible for the base rate of Telephone Allowance can also receive the higher rate of $132. The internet service must be in the recipient's or their partner's name to qualify for the increased rate. This will make it more affordable for Australian seniors, carers and people with disabilities to access information and stay in contact with family and friends through the internet.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Helping Seniors Make Ends Meet — Utilities Allowance — increase and extend eligibility

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - - -
Department of Veterans' Affairs - - - - -
Total - - - - -

The Government will provide $5.1 billion over five years (including $530.4 million in 2007‑08) to increase the rate of Utilities Allowance and to extend Utilities Allowance to recipients of Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Invalidity Service Pension, Partner Service Pension, Income Support Supplement, Bereavement Allowance, Widow B Pension and Wife Pension irrespective of age. From March 2008, the Utilities Allowance annual rate increased from $107.20 to $500 for singles (or couples combined). It will be paid quarterly with payments in March, June, September and December.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $10.7 million in 2007‑08, $0.1 million in 2008‑09, $0.1 million in 2009‑10, $0.1 million in 2010‑11 and $0.1 million in 2011‑12.

Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Home in Queanbeyan Mental Health Service

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 1.0 1.0 - -

The Government will provide $2.0 million over two years to contribute to Home in Queanbeyan, a charitable organisation that helps people living with chronic mental illness who cannot live independently or are homeless. This funding will be used to establish a facility providing 20 one bedroom units to cater for 15 long term residents and five respite care residents.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Housing Affordability Fund

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 52.2 77.1 77.1 152.8

The Government will provide $512.0 million over five years (including $152.8 million in 2012‑13) to assist up to 50,000 new home buyers across Australia by lowering regulatory and infrastructure costs built into the purchase price of a new home.

The Housing Affordability Fund will provide grants on a competitive basis to local governments — potentially in partnership with developers — and State and Territory governments for proposals that streamline planning and approval processes, or reduce infrastructure costs, with savings to be passed on to homebuyers.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

National Disability Strategy

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - - -

The Government will provide $7.7 million over four years from 1 July 2008 to develop a National Disability Strategy. The Strategy will include a national policy statement setting the directions and priorities for the development of legislation, policy and financing of disability services.

This measure includes the development of consistent accessible parking schemes around Australia.

The measure aims to better harness and focus the resources of the Australian Government, State and Territory governments and the community sector to better meet the needs of people with a disability.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

National framework for protecting Australia's children

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 1.2 1.3 0.1 -

The Government will provide $2.6 million over three years to develop a national framework for protecting Australia's children against abuse and neglect. This will enable consultation with key child protection stakeholders, including State and Territory governments, to support the development of the framework. In addition, the Government will work with the States and Territories to collect nationally consistent child protection data. This will help agencies determine what is working well and enable the sharing of best practice in protecting children from abuse and neglect.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

National Housing Supply Council

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 0.9 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.3

The Government will provide $10.2 million over five years to establish a National Housing Supply Council. The Council will provide research, forecasts and advice to the Government and the Council of Australian Governments on long‑term housing and land supply trends and will publish an annual State of Housing Supply report detailing analysis of these trends. Ensuring there is adequate land and housing supply available to meet future demand will help ensure homebuyers can access affordable housing.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

National plan to reduce violence against women and children

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 0.3 0.5 0.3 0.3 -
Australian Institute of Criminology 0.5 - - - -
Total 0.8 0.5 0.3 0.3 -

The Government will provide $1.7 million over four years to support activities that help reduce violence against women and children. This includes funding for White Ribbon Day, the Australian Institute of Criminology's National Monitoring Program and research into international best practice models for working with perpetrators of violence.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

National Reciprocal Transport Concessions

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 12.5 12.5 12.5 12.5

The Government will provide $50.0 million over four years to establish a national reciprocal transport entitlement for State and Territory government seniors card holders. Currently many seniors card holders cannot access local public transport concessions outside their home State or Territory. This measure will help ensure that seniors card holders can travel on public transport at concessional rates across Australia.

This measure will be implemented through negotiations with State and Territory governments and is expected to be in place by 1 January 2009.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

National Rental Affordability Scheme

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 13.0 25.2 35.6 55.1
Australian Taxation Office - 10.5 47.0 134.5 301.7
Total - 23.5 72.2 170.1 356.8

The Government will provide $622.6 million over four years for the provision of 50,000 affordable rental properties across Australia for low and middle income earners. An annual incentive of $6,000 per property for up to ten years will be paid by refundable tax offsets for complying institutional investors and by grants for not‑for‑profit housing organisations who are exempt from income tax.

State and Territory governments have agreed to provide annual support of at least $2,000 per annum per property for up to 10 years. The state and territory contribution will take the form of cash grants, concessions on stamp duty or the provision of discounted land.

To access the Scheme, investors must rent properties to eligible tenants at 20 per cent below the market rate of rent for equivalent properties in the area.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Office for Housing — establishment

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 0.3 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8

The Government will provide $3.7 million over five years to establish an Office for Housing within the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. The Office for Housing will provide policy advice, coordinate the implementation of the Government's housing initiatives and help develop a national approach to housing and homelessness issues.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Supporting Local Communities

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 0.7 - - -

The Government will provide funding of $1.7 million over two years from 2007‑08 (with $1.0 million to be met from within existing resourcing) to assist community organisations provide homelessness, disability and other services to their local communities. This includes community organisations in Lismore in New South Wales, Gumdale, St George and Aspley in Queensland, and Epping North in Victoria.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitments.

Volunteer Grants program — expansion to help with fuel costs

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 5.0 5.0 5.0 -

The Government will provide an additional $15.0 million over three years for the Volunteer Grants program to assist volunteers to undertake community activities. The program combines the Volunteer Small Equipment and Sporting Equipment Grants programs into one program to make it easier for community volunteer organisations to claim financial support. In addition, from 1 July 2008, the Government will expand items eligible for funding under the program to include petrol vouchers for volunteers who use their vehicle for volunteering purposes.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Welfare Payments Reform — child protection pilot and school attendance and enrolment pilot

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 0.1 16.6 0.8 - -
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 2.0 14.4 - - -
Department of Human Services - 0.7 - - -
Department of Veterans' Affairs - - - - -
Total 2.1 31.7 0.8 - -
Centrelink - 1.8 - - -

The Government will provide $36.4 million over three years to undertake and evaluate two welfare payment reform pilots.

The Child Protection Pilot will trial income management in selected Western Australia communities from July 2008. Child welfare authorities will be able to request that Centrelink manage parents' income support and family payments to ensure the essential needs of children at risk are met. Parents will receive income support payments through an Income Management Debit Card, which cannot be used to purchase alcohol, tobacco, pornography or gambling products. Parents participating in this trial will also receive financial counselling and training.

The School Attendance and Enrolment Pilot will operate in six Northern Territory communities, and two metropolitan locations. From January 2009, welfare recipients in these areas will be required to notify Centrelink of their child's school enrolment details. State education authorities or schools will be able to notify Centrelink in cases where parents fail to take reasonable steps to ensure their children attend school. Centrelink will then advise parents that taking reasonable steps to ensure school attendance is a condition of their income support. Parents who do not comply with the requirements of the pilot may have their income support suspended, with payments restored and back paid when parents take necessary corrective action.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink services of $1.9 million in 2007‑08, $26.4 million in 2008‑09 and $0.8 million in 2009‑10, in addition to Centrelink capital funding of $1.8 million in 2008‑09.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Other measures

Ageing Carers — additional support

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 100.0 - - - -

The Government will provide $100.0 million in 2007‑08 to State and Territory governments under the Commonwealth State Territory Disability Agreement to increase the availability of supported accommodation for people with a disability where their carers are ageing. The funding will allow the States and Territories to build or purchase new facilities with the capacity to care for more people with disabilities. These facilities will allow older carers to plan for the transition of their children with a disability from the family home to other accommodation arrangements.

Brendan's Fund — ex‑gratia payment

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - - -

The Government provided a one‑off payment of $0.4 million in 2007‑08 to Brendan's Fund in the form of an ex‑gratia payment. This payment will provide financial support to the family of Brendan Keilar in honour of his bravery in providing assistance to a person who was being assaulted in Melbourne in June 2007.

Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Business Services Wage Assessment Tool — continuation

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 4.3 7.6 8.1 5.8

The Government will provide $25.7 million over four years to provide the disability employment sector with continued access to the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool. The Tool assesses worker productivity and competency to assist in determining a fair wage for people with a disability in supported employment. The free wage assessments are conducted by qualified Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service staff.

Carer Bonus

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 426.7 1.4 - - -

The Government will provide $428.1 million over two years from 2007‑08 for a lump sum payment to carers, in recognition of their contribution in caring for people with disabilities and the frail aged. Carer Payment recipients will receive $1,000 and recipients of Carer Allowance will receive $600 for each eligible person in their care. The payments will be exempt from income tax. Those receiving both payments on 13 May 2008 will receive both lump sum payments.

A small number of claimants who are determined by Centrelink after 1 July 2008 to have been eligible for the qualifying payments as at 13 May 2008 will also receive the bonus.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $1.3 million in 2007‑08 and $1.4 million in 2008‑09.

Carers — improved support

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 0.2 20.4 197.8 239.9 250.0
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - - -120.0 -145.3 -152.0
Total 0.2 20.4 77.8 94.6 98.0
Centrelink - - 2.5 - -

The Government will provide $293.6 million over five years (including $0.2 million in 2007‑08) to improve assistance to carers.

The key components of this measure, which commence on 1 July 2009, are:

  • a new assessment process to determine eligibility for Carer Payment (child) based on the level of care required by care receivers and provided by carers;
  • allowing Carer Payment (child) recipients to be automatically eligible for Carer Allowance (child);
  • allowing access to Carer Payment (child) for short‑term or episodic care, with a required minimum period of care of 12 weeks and a maximum period of care of 26 weeks; and
  • streamlining the transitions from Carer Payment (child) to Carer Payment (adult).

As a result of these changes it is expected that, in 2009‑10, an additional 19,000 carers of children with disabilities or illness will be able to access Carer Payment (child) and related benefits to assist with their caring responsibilities.

Savings for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations result from some carers transferring to Carer Payment (child) from Parenting Payment (single or partnered) and Newstart Allowance.

This measure will also extend support of $20.0 million over four years for carers who have experienced a catastrophic event involving a young child.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $0.2 million in 2007‑08, $15.3 million in 2008‑09, $11.6 million in 2009‑10, $3.9 million in 2010‑11 and $2.6 million in 2011‑12 to implement system changes and improve support for carers. An additional $2.5 million in 2009‑10 will be provided to Centrelink for the development of software.

Centrelink call centre supplementation — continuation

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 38.8 - - -
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - 20.3 - - -
Total - 59.1 - - -

The Government will provide additional funding of $59.1 million to Centrelink in 2008‑09 to assist in maintaining service standards in Centrelink call centres.

This measure will help deliver shorter response times to customers and address unmet call centre demand.

This measure will be accompanied by a review of call centre demand and funding arrangements, to move away from the ad‑hoc approach of the past to a more sustainable funding model.

Financial Counselling — enhancing existing programs

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0

The Government will provide $20.0 million over four years for increased financial counselling to assist people in managing their finances.

Funding for the Commonwealth Financial Counselling program will be increased by $10.0 million over four years, doubling the size of the program. This will provide greater access to the service across Australia particularly for people under financial stress. In addition, $10.0 million over four years will be provided to develop and distribute easy to understand and practical financial management information products. These products will cover financial management in relation to mortgages, credit cards, hire purchase and similar financial products, and will be distributed through Centrelink's Financial Information Service and other providers of financial information and counselling.

Supporting these measures, the Government will work with industry to encourage lending organisations to more actively engage with their customers who are exhibiting early signs of financial stress and require them to provide information on available counselling services. The Government will encourage stronger links between financial institutions and financial counselling networks. Industry codes provide a mechanism to promote these arrangements.

Helping Seniors Make Ends Meet — Seniors Bonus

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 1,165.1 0.5 - - -
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 40.5 - - - -
Department of Veterans' Affairs 168.9 - - - -
Total 1,374.5 0.5 - - -

The Government will provide $1.4 billion over two years from 2007‑08 for a tax‑exempt payment of $500 to individuals in receipt of Age Pension, veterans' pensions, Widow B Pension, Wife Pension, Seniors Concession Allowance, Mature Age Allowance, Widows Allowance or Partner Allowance as at 13 May 2008.

A very small number of claimants who, after 1 July 2008 are determined by Centrelink to be eligible for the qualifying payments as at 13 May 2008, will also receive the bonus.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $3.2 million in 2007‑08 and $0.4 million 2008‑09.

Maternity Immunisation Allowance — eligibility change

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Medicare Australia - 0.1 0.1 0.1 ..
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - -13.5 -32.1 -32.6 -7.3
Total - -13.4 -32.0 -32.5 -7.2

The Government will reform and improve the Maternity Immunisation Allowance (MIA) from 1 January 2009 to increase the number of children aged 4‑5 years who are fully immunised against key diseases.

The MIA is currently paid to parents or carers when their children have received all the vaccines recommended for children from birth to 18‑24 months under the National Immunisation Program. The allowance will now be made in two payments, with half being paid at 18‑24 months of age and half at 4‑5 years of age, to encourage parents or carers to also have children immunised against key diseases in this second period, prior to attending school. All families will continue to receive the full benefit of maternity immunisation allowance.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $2.9 million in 2008‑09, $1.6 million in 2009‑10, $2.2 million in 2010‑11 and $2.2 million in 2011‑12.

President Ramos‑Horta — non‑medical support

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 0.1 - - - -

The Government provided $75,000 in 2007‑08 to assist with the non‑medical costs of President Ramos‑Horta while he was receiving medical attention in Australia following the failed attempt on his life in Dili, Timor Leste on 11 February 2008. This measure includes the cost of accommodation that enabled family members to provide day‑to‑day support to President Ramos‑Horta through his recovery.

Queensland Floods — assistance

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 16.2 1.9 - - -

The Government will provide $18.2 million over two years under the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment to assist people adversely affected by the January and February 2008 floods in the Mackay, Emerald and Whitsunday Island regions of Queensland.

Payments of $1,000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child have been made available to people who, as a direct result of the flooding, were seriously injured and required hospitalisation for at least 48 hours or whose principal place of residence was destroyed or damaged.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $2.9 million in 2007‑08.

Respite brokerage for older carers

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs -2.0 2.0 - - -

The Government will provide $2.4 million in 2008‑09 for respite brokerage services between April 2008 and December 2008 to older carers aged 65 years and over, who are caring for adult children aged 40 years and over with a disability.

The brokerage services will be provided by Centrelink and will help ensure that older carers have better access to respite services. Administration of these services will be transferred to States and Territories under the new Commonwealth State and Territory Disability Agreement, expected to commence on 1 January 2009.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and includes reprofiling of $2.0 million from 2007‑08 to 2008‑09.

Social Security Agreement with Finland

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 1.0 -0.2 -1.0 -1.1

The Government will extend the current network of reciprocal social security agreements to include Finland, with estimated savings of $1.4 million over four years.

The agreement will ensure that, where eligibility requirements are met, former Australian residents in Finland will gain access to the Australian Age Pension and former Finnish residents in Australia will gain access to the Finnish age/retirement pension. The measure delivers increased income for seniors, and delivers savings where former Finnish residents in Australia gain access to Finnish pensions and, as a consequence, receive a reduced Australian pension as the income test is applied. This agreement is expected to commence on 1 July 2009.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $0.8 million in 2008‑09, $1.1 million in 2009‑10, $0.2 million in 2010‑11 and $0.2 million in 2011‑12 to implement system changes and process additional age pension claims.

Social Security Agreement with Poland

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 1.2 -2.3 -3.9 -6.5

The Government will extend the current network of reciprocal social security agreements to include Poland, with estimated savings of $11.5 million over four years.

The agreement will ensure that, where eligibility requirements are met, former Australian residents in Poland will gain access to the Australian Age Pension and former Polish residents in Australia will gain access to the Polish age/retirement pension. The measure delivers increased income for seniors, and delivers savings where former Polish residents in Australia gain access to Polish pensions and, as a consequence, receive a reduced Australian pension as the income test is applied. This agreement is expected to commence on 1 July 2009.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $1.0 million in 2008‑09, $4.0 million in 2009‑10, $2.5 million in 2010‑11 and $0.4 million in 2011‑12 to implement system changes and process additional Age Pension claims.

Volunteer Management Program (Voluntary Work Initiative) — continuation of funding

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - - -

The Government will provide $16.7 million over four years to continue the Voluntary Work Initiative component of the Volunteer Management Program. This will allow Volunteer Resource Centres to continue to provide a range of services to support volunteers, including management and training services, and the provision of advice and information to volunteers.

This measure involves funding of $4.1 million in 2008‑09, $4.1 million in 2009‑10, $4.2 million in 2010‑11 and $4.3 million in 2011‑12.

Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

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