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Media Release: National Seniors Reveals Budget Submission


National Seniors has released its submission for this year’s federal budget calling for relaxed rules to encourage pensioners to stay longer in the workforce, changes to make it easier for older Australians to downsize and more opportunities to invest in green projects.

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National Seniors has released its submission for this year’s federal budget calling for relaxed rules to encourage pensioners to stay longer in the workforce, changes to make it easier for older Australians to downsize and more opportunities to invest in green projects.

View the campaign

Let pensioner's work


A key part of National Seniors’ budget submission and the upcoming election is the ‘Let Pensioners Work’ campaign, calling for the government to relax work rules which unfairly penalise pensioners working more than one day a week.

Currently an aged pensioner starts to lose fifty cents in the dollar of their pension once they earn $240 or more a week and they pay income tax as well.

National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke, says changes to the age pension income test would not be a burden on the budget, in fact, it would be quite the opposite.

“If older aged pensioners work more, they pay more in income tax, so they go from being a financial liability in the government’s eyes to a revenue producing asset.”

Mr Henschke also pointed to other countries with a more liberated approach to older people contributing to the labour market.

“In Australia only 2.9 per cent of aged pensioners work compared to 24.8 per cent in New Zealand which allows older people to work regardless of whether they receive the pension or not.”

More suitable housing


National Seniors says a vast majority (92%) of older Australians want to stay in their home as they age, but for many their family home is no longer suitable.

Many older Australians need to downsize, however that move is made harder by rules which impact their pension when they sell the family home.

Mr Henschke says this rule traps thousands of older Australians into staying in their larger, high maintenance homes.

“Pensioners who stay in larger homes, no longer suitable to them, have a higher risk of injury or are forced prematurely into residential aged care,” he said.

If the barrier of impacting their age pension was removed, more older Australians would downsize, improving their mental and physical health and taking pressure off the residential aged care sector.

A green legacy


National Seniors says regular surveys show a vast majority of its members want to leave a greener future for their children and grandchildren.

Its budget submission is campaigning for the government to create Clean Energy Bonds to enable older Australians to invest safely in green infrastructure projects.

It recommends the bonds be guaranteed in the same way bank deposits are, giving seniors a safe savings option to invest in clean energy projects.

Returns would then be paid to investors fortnightly through Centrelink.

Ian Henschke says the idea, partly came from National Seniors own members.

“Our members tell us not only do they believe in climate change, but they are willing to make changes to help reduce its impact,” Mr Henschke said.

The power of the grey vote


As at the end of December 2021, AEC figures showed that 49% of voters are aged 50 or over and Ian Henschke says governments need to listen to organisations such as National Seniors.

“We’ll have plenty more to say once an election is called and as we showed at the last election, the grey vote will help determine who gets to live in the Lodge and who is in opposition.”

Read the full Budget Submission

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