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There are a number of changes being made to the citizenship test. The key changes are:                                                                                                    citizenship

  • the test questions will be rewritten in plain English
  • the test will not contain any mandatory questions
  • the current pass mark will increase from 60 per cent to 75 per cent
  • the test will be based on the Pledge of Commitment that new Australians make when becoming citizens.

The new citizenship test is planned to begin in late September 2009. The revised citizenship test resource book, which will contain all the information needed to prepare for the test, will be available from late August 2009.

You will be able to sit the new citizenship test in the same locations as with the current test including all 13 department offices, 30 Medicare offices and 4 Centrelink offices across Australia.

Will the new test be easier?

No. The test will continue to assess whether clients have an adequate knowledge of Australia and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship and possess a basic level of English.

Will the test only be in English?

Yes. The government is committed to the citizenship test being delivered in plain English.

If I have already passed a test will I have to sit another one if there are any changes?

No. You will not have to sit another test if you have already passed a test.

Can I make a booking to sit the new test now?

No. Appointments for the new test will not be available until the revised resource book is released in late August 2009.

Can I get a copy of the new test questions?

No. As with the current test questions, the new test questions will be confidential. However, practice questions will be available in the revised resource book and on this website.

Will assistance to complete the test still be available?

Yes. If you have difficulty reading or are unable to operate a computer you will be able to request help from a Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) officer during a standard 45 minute test. The department officer will be able to assist you by reading aloud the test questions and answers or by operating the computer. Please ensure you request assistance at the time you make your test booking.

Source  :  http://www.citizenship.gov.au/test/changes/

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From 1 July 2009, there will be changes to how certain types of income affect eligibility for the CSHC. Depending on your circumstances, these changes may impact on your eligibility for a CSHC and you may be required to provide additional information about your income to Centrelink.

The adjusted taxable income test for CSHC will include:

  • assessment of total net investment losses. Total net investment losses are the sum of net losses from rental property income and net losses from financial investment income, and
  • subject to the passage of legislation, reportable superannuation contributions may be included in the adjusted taxable income test for CSHC. Reportable superannuation contributions are discretionary or voluntary contributions, for example salary sacrifice contribution and personal deductible contributions. 

Note: losses from rental properties are already included in assessable income for CSHC. From 1 July 2009, the adjustable taxable income test will also include losses from.

Source  :  http://www.centrelink.com.au/internet/internet.nsf/payments/conc_cards_cshc.htm

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Aged pensioners living in country towns across WA can begin applying for the State Governments $500 fuel card from tomorrow.

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls today launched fuel card scheme in Albany which will allow pensioners in country towns to use the credit on the card either to buy fuel or hire a taxi.

The fuel card, which is expected to cost taxpayers $80 million dollars over the next four years, is a National’s election promise under the Royalties for Regions scheme.

The first $500 card will be valid until June 30 next year and all eligible pensioners can apply for the card by filling in a form at regional post offices. Couples are eligible for one card between them.

Card holders must produce a pensioner concession card when buying fuel at any Motorpass affiliated petrol station or hiring a Cabcharge taxi.

Mr Grylls said the card would help with travel costs for country age pensioners who relied on cars or taxis’ because of limited public transport.

“Age pensioners in regional areas generally do not have access to extensive public transport and fuel is usually more expensive than in the metropolitan area. The fuel card will help country age pensioners meet the additional cost of travel using their own vehicles or taxis,” he said.

The fuel card would be available for regional residents who received an age pension from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Age pensioners did not have to own a car or have a driver’s licence to be eligible.

Any credit left on the card for the 2009-10 financial year would be will be forfeited. Fuel cards will be reissued automatically each July over the next four years.
Robert Taylor http://www.thewest.com.au

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