AUSTRALIA - Pensioners are set to receive a one-off payment, as part of the government's strategy to stimulate the economy.
In a statement, the goverment, describing the current economic conditions as "the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression", said its Economic Security Strategy would help strengthen the Australian economy.
In addition to the pensioner payments, funds have been made available to low and middle income families and first time buyers. The strategy also includes $187m to create 56,000 new training places in 2008-09.
The government said the strategy would be entirely funded from the budget, which would remain in surplus following its implementation.
It said: "This $10.4bn strategy will strengthen the national economy and support Australian households, given the risk of a deep and prolonged global economic slowdown.
"The Australian economy is strong, and we remain better placed than most other nations, but Australia is not immune from the global financial crisis.
"The Rudd Government made tough decisions in the May budget to build up a large budget surplus to act as a buffer in tough economic times. Today those tough economic times have arrived."
Last month, the government rejected calls by the Liberal party-led opposition coalition to provide an immediate raise in the basic state pension for singles (www.globalpensions.com; 12 September 2008).
At the time, treasurer Wayne Swan said no decision would be taken before the release of the pre-budget tax report in February and added the government would not support efforts by the opposition to force through a bill to raise some pensions immediately.
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