The initiative to develop this agreement was sent in 2008 to Australian officials by letter from the Ministry of Labour. According to the announcement by the Serbian Embassy in Canberra, the Australian body has not yet made the decision to start negotiations. The first international social security agreement was concluded in 1827 between the Grand Duchy of Parma and France. Under these agreements, Australia equates social security periods/stays in these countries with periods of Australian residence in order to meet minimum qualification periods for Australian pensions. In other countries, periods of Australian working life are generally counted as social security periods to meet their minimum payment periods. Typically, each country pays a partial pension to a person who has lived in both countries. Australia has added Serbia to the list of countries that are a priority for the opening of negotiations for the finalization of a social security agreement. According to a statement from the Serbian Embassy in Canberra, Michalina Stawyskyj, Director of the Department of International Agreements, informed the Serbian Ambassador that the talks would begin in 2013, at a meeting to be held on 11 December at the Ministry responsible for the supervision of social conventions: Ministry of Family, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. The written confirmation of the Australian government`s decision is contained in this appendix. Australia`s social security system is based on the housing and finance situation.
As a general rule, social security payments are only available to Australian residents who, if assessed on the basis of needy examinations, are eligible for income assistance. Some payments are subject to minimum living conditions. For more information on retirement qualifications, visit Australian Income Support – Residence Criteria. The agreements extend the legal conditions applicable to persons who cannot receive a pension from Australia or the contracting countries because they are unable to meet the minimum conditions of residence or contribution. In addition, some countries will only pay their pensions abroad in countries where there is an agreement that provides for it. International social security agreements can be comprehensive and cover the whole area of social security (pension and disability insurance, health insurance, health care and maternity, occupational accident and illness insurance, unemployment insurance and family allowances) which cover only certain sectors of social security.