Monday, 30 March 2009

Centrelink open to same sex registration from today

Senator Joe Ludwig
Same-sex couples receiving welfare payments can voluntarily declare their relationships to Centrelink from today, as the next step to equality for the gay and lesbian community begins.
Radio commercials and newspaper and magazine advertisements have also begun appearing today as the Government continues the consultation process ahead of the July 1 implementation of the historic same-sex reforms.
Minister for Human Services, Senator Joe Ludwig, said from 1 July 2009, Centrelink will treat same-sex relationships exactly the same as other relationships in determining eligibility for government assistance.


“The ‘Couples are Couples’ campaign aims to ensure those who might be affected by the new equality laws are aware of the changes and their potential impact,” Senator Ludwig said.
“For the first time, all couples will be treated equally in such areas as social security, tax, superannuation, health and aged care.”


The Minister also announced today changes to the names that appear on Centrelink concession cards.
“From July, any customer who would like a concession card reissued without their partner’s details will be able to do so,” Senator Ludwig said.
“Both cards will remain valid and can be used by the customers as they choose.”


“The Rudd Government is delivering on its important election commitment to provide equality of treatment between same-sex and opposite-sex couples.”
“Centrelink has established a dedicated inquiry line for the same-sex reforms and customers can call 13 6280 from today to declare their relationship.”
“Centrelink staff are well equipped to answer questions about how individual customer situations will be affected,” he said.
“For many customers it may be daunting declaring their relationship to Centrelink for the first time. Centrelink has professional staff who have undergone training to ensure they’re sensitive to the needs of all customers.”
For more information about the same-sex reforms Centrelink customers can visit http://www.centrelink.gov.au/ or call 13 6280.
For information about the broader Federal Government reforms visit www.ag.gov.au/samesexreform.


Source: Ministerial media release

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