Hands Off The Pension
WHAT ARE THE FEDERAL BUDGET MEASURES AFFECTING THE PENSION?
In last year's Federal Budget the Government proposed to:
- Index the Age Pension only by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from 1 September 2017
- Freeze eligibility thresholds for the Pension and pension related payments for 3 years from 2017 (i.e. don't index them as usual)
- Reset deeming thresholds for Pension income testing from September 2017 - thresholds for singles will be reduced from $46,600 to $30,000 and for couples from $77,400 to $50,000
- Increase the age pension qualifying age to gradually reach 70 years by 2035
Although these measures don't start until 2017 they have already been passed by the House of Representatives and are in the Senate for its consideration.
WHAT DO THESE BUDGET MEASURES MEAN FOR PENSIONERS AND OLDER AUSTRALIANS?
- These measures will dramatically reduce the standard of living of Pensioners, due to the cut in indexation. If the CPI had been used since 2009 the Pension would already be $30 per week or $1560 per year less
- These measures will affect Full Pensioners worst, people with the least assets and other income will be hardest hit
- These measures are blunt instruments that reduce the income of all part pensioners, rather than tackling community concerns about people with high assets receiving a part pension
- These measures mean that older people unemployed due to age discrimination and lack of jobs will stay on Newstart for years longer rather than moving to the Age Pension.
- These measures reduce the living standards of pensioners while leaving intact huge superannuation tax concessions to high income earners and well off superannuants. Many tens of thousands of high income earners get tax concessions bigger than the value of the single pension.
WHAT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED?
- These measures were introduced in the May 2014 Federal Budget without any public inquiry or consultation, and despite election commitments that there would be no change to pensions.
- What should happen is a Retirement Incomes Review be set up with an independent expert chair with a public engagement process involving all key stakeholders. The Review should cover pensions, superannuation and the taxation treatment of retirement assets and income. It should report by the end of 2015
- The Bills to cut the Pension should be withdrawn while the Review is happening. The Bills have already passed the House of Representatives and are being considered by the Senate.
For more detail on all the above you can access COTA's submission to the Senate Community Affairs Committee here for a full discussion of the proposed changes and the need for a Retirement Incomes Review
WHAT YOU CAN DO!
If you don't agree with these measures to significantly reduce the Pension you can:
- Sign up to the Hands Off The Pension campaign using the form below and we will keep you up to date on developments and actions to take
- Write to the Prime Minister telling him so. View a sample letter online or download a copy of the letter in Microsoft Word format. You can mail a copy of this letter or visit the PM's website and submit it online.
- Send a letter to your Senators
- Spread the Word
We will have more actions for you to take soon, so make sure you have signed up to be kept informed.