EX GRATIA SUPERANNUATION ENTITLEMENTS
The Hon. I. M. MACDONALD:
I address my question to the Special Minister of State. Following the decision of the Minister to grant an ex gratia payment to Mr John Essex, a member of the New South Wales State Superannuation Scheme who is suffering from terminal cancer but unable to access superannuation benefits until the expiration of accumulated annual leave, will the Minister inform the House of the action the Government will take to avoid anyone else being caught in the same situation in future?
The Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti:
It is an invasion of privacy.
The Hon. J. J. DELLA BOSCA:
No invasion of privacy is involved, as the Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti suggests. I want to ensure that those who have worked for years but are forced to retire due to invalidity are treated with compassion. Seriously ill people should be able to access their money immediately. Families should not be placed under the extra burden of financial uncertainty. Any person in similar circumstances to Mr Essex has a right to his or her money. That money may help pay for palliative relief or buy a small luxury and enable a person suffering chronic illness to better enjoy the time left. I am sure that all honourable members will support the Government’s legislative changes and that they will attract cross-party support when they are introduced to the Parliament in the near future.