National Seniors welcomes Retirement Income Review

Leading advocacy organisation National Seniors Australia has welcomed the federal government’s commissioning of an independent review of the retirement income system and hopes this once-in-a-generation opportunity addresses key hot issues for seniors. 

National Seniors has been calling for a comprehensive review for years based on principles of adequacy, sustainability, certainty and fairness. 

Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said the review terms of reference were very broad and hopes they will address the current problems in the retirement income system.

“The review tribunal is on trust to do the right thing and truly address the hot issues impacting now on seniors.

He said the terms of reference were broad enough to fix pension poverty and address the issues around sustainability and fairness into the future.

“One of the most glaring problems with the pension system is the taper rate means the more you save the worse off you are,” he said. 

The review must address these key issues:

  • high deeming rates – must be cut further
  • inadequate Newstart and rent assistance – must be increased 
  • spiralling living costs – must be brought down or most vulnerable seniors compensated
  • high Age Pension taper rate – must be lowered
  • politicisation of Age Pension – must establish an independent tribunal.

Mr Henschke said for years, retirees, whether they are pensioners or self-funded, have become an easy target for successive governments. 

He said the review was a once in a life time opportunity to re-set the retirement income parameters to embrace adequacy, sustainability, certainty and fairness. 

“The retirement income system needs to be regarded as part of an “eco system”, which includes employment income, the pension, superannuation, home ownership, health and aged care costs.

“This review should not become a battle ground for ideological warriors who want to attack older Australians, otherwise it will be a wasted opportunity,” Mr Henschke warned.

National Seniors is calling for an independent body to be established after the review to set deeming rates and pensions and take politics out of the pension and the retirement system.