Senator Mitch Fifield has today welcomed the Government’s back down on ceasing pensions for people with severe disability who are required to travel overseas with their family carer.
“The Coalition has been calling on the Government for over 18 months to amend legislation to assist people like Hugh Borrowman and his family,” Senator Fifield said.
Hugh Borrowman, a career diplomat, was forced to turn down a diplomatic posting as the Ambassador to Sweden because it would have resulted in his son, who has a severe disability, losing his Disability Support Pension when he accompanied his father overseas.
“I initiated a Senate Inquiry into this issue because people who care for loved ones with disability should not be forced to turn down career opportunities overseas, nor should those they care for have to forfeit their pension for travel that is not of their own choosing,” Senator Fifield said.
Senator Fifield made a recommendation to the Senate Community Affairs Committee in November 2010 that there be should be:
“…an amendment to address the portability issue affecting DSP recipients
with a severe disability and impaired decision-making capacity and whose
carers are travelling overseas for work purposes.”
The Government delayed critical legislation to assist Australians with disability at the end of last year in order to deny the Opposition the opportunity to move such an amendment in the Senate.
“I’m pleased that the Government has belatedly taken the advice of Coalition Senators to introduce an amendment to ensure people in the circumstance of Mr Borrowman and his son are not penalised.”