The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) issued a call this week to the federal parliament to reject the plan to lower the indexation of pensions that would severely impact upon all pensioners, and instead focus on eligibility for the part-pension and reforming the unfair retirement incomes system, including superannuation tax concessions.
‘The decision to reduce the indexation of pensions in the last Budget came as a great surprise to most of us, especially to pensioners,’ said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.
‘It would effectively lead to people on pensions, including older people, sole parents, and people with disabilities, falling behind community living standards.
‘We know these groups are already struggling to get by on a daily basis and if this measure goes ahead, they would lose as much as $80 per week over the next ten years based on modelling by the National Commission of Audit.
‘This would be a massive cut to the income of some of the most vulnerable people in our community, who simply could not afford to absorb it.
‘The last thing we should be doing is reducing indexation of payments for pensioners down to the inadequate indexation which is still in place for people struggling to survive on allowances, including young people on Youth Allowance (just $30 a day) and unemployed people on Newstart (just $37 a day). Two thirds of people on Newstart and Youth Allowance have been on these payments for over a year.
‘We urge the government, opposition parties and crossbenchers to work together on alternative solutions to ensure the sustainability of retirement incomes system into the future. This must include reform to better target the Age Pension to those who need it and to superannuation tax concessions as part of the tax review.’