Older Australians have welcomed Labor’s announcement today that it will oppose the Coalition Government’s $2.4 billion cut to pensions announced in the 2015 budget.
“The changes as announced in the budget were poorly thought through, and, subsequently, unfair,” said National Seniors chief executive, Michael O’Neill.
“The public talk was about ‘wealthy’ retirees. But, in fact, the sums show middle to low income pensioners, with little capacity to adjust, would have been seriously impacted.
“The goal posts shifted and thousands of retirees who’d saved for decades were suddenly worried about the future.
“National Seniors isn’t opposed to reform but changes that significantly affect the lives of ordinary Australians must be done in a considered way, not as a quick budget fix.
“Parliament should reject the proposals to allow a comprehensive review that considers all components of the retirement income system including tax and superannuation to occur first,” he said.
The Coalition’s changes to the pension taper rate and assets test would have seen 325,000 retirees lose some or all of their pension in 2017. Based on current interest rates:
- A single person earning $16,500 p.a. (3%) from $550,000 in assets would no longer qualify for a part pension. Yet a single person with very few savings, and therefore entitled to the full Age Pension, would receive around $22,365 a year (2015 Age Pension amount) plus state concessions on rates, utilities and registrations.
- A couple earning $24,750 a year (3%) from $825,000 in assets would no longer qualify for a part pension. Yet a couple with few savings on the full Age Pension will receive around $33,717 a year (2015 rates) plus state concessions on rates, utilities and registrations.
Michael O’Neill is available for comment
Media contact: Sarah Saunders