National Seniors Australia has welcomed today’s announcement of changes to the Pension Loans Scheme, which includes a substantial drop in the interest rate from 4.5% to 3.95%.
The country’s peak consumer and advocacy group for older Australians has campaigned over the past three years for the changes, which will be formally announced as part of this year’s Mid-year Budget Review.
The changes include:
- A reduction in interest rate from 4.5% p.a.to 3.95%
- A rebranding to promote it to ALL eligible Australians of the pension age and not just pensioners
- Lump sum payments up to two times a year (previously announced).
National Seniors Chief Advocate, Ian Henschke says this shows the government is listening to older Australians who now make up half of all voters.
“It’s good Minister Ruston and the government have recognised our campaign on the need to rebrand, and to lower the interest rate. The old name of the scheme was confusing. Many people didn’t realise they were eligible and many also were put off by the high interest rate.
The two big changes – a lower interest rate and increased awareness of the availability of the scheme – have been the cornerstone of National Seniors’ campaign since the last election.
The rate will drop to 3.95% and people will be able to take out a lump sum twice a year or have fortnightly payments. There is also a no negative equity clause. All big improvements.
Most house prices around the country have been going up, so homeowner’s will be able to tap into their equity and have a higher standard of living. This will be good for seniors and the economy.
National Seniors is still pushing for a dedicated home care loans scheme with a lower rate of interest to give home care recipients the ability to stay in their own home rather than move into residential care.” said Mr Henschke.