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The Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI) is used to adjust the maximum basic rate (MBR) of pension where movement in the PBLCI is greater than movement in the consumer price index (CPI) for the relevant indexation period. The PBLCI specifically measures changes in the cost of living experienced by pensioner and beneficiary households to ensure that pension rates keep up with the changes in their cost of living. Movements in the CPI will be compared to movements in the PBLCI and the pension MBR will be indexed in line with the higher of these two indexes before benchmarking to male total average weekly earnings (MTAWE).
According to Schedule 6-B1 of the VEA a MBR is the person's maximum rate as ascertained at the date of grant of the designated pension, and is the maximum annual pension rate payable at the date of grant (excluding allowances).
The consumer price index (CPI) provides the official measure of inflation in Australia. The CPI measures quarterly changes in the price of a 'basket' of goods and services which account for a high proportion of expenditure by the CPI population group (i.e. metropolitan households).
MTAWE is an amount set by the Australian statistician and published in a document called 'Average Weekly Earning, States and Australia'. Section 59EA of VEA specifies that certain income support indexed amounts are increased in line with increases in MTAWE. The first MTAWE increase of $6.80 per fortnight in the single rate of service pension occurred on 26 March 1998.
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