A new poll has revealed the high levels of concern about any changes to the pension with more than 70 per cent of Australians against raising the pension age to 70.
The Essential Research poll released this week reveals:
• 71 per cent of respondents disapprove of raising the pension age to 70;
• 72 per cent believe that Australians should be able to receive the age pension at 65 or younger with only ten per cent happy to wait to 70; and
• 82 per cent of those aged 55-64 disapprove of including the value of the family home in the assets test for eligibility for the age pension.
Ian Yates, chief executive of seniors’ advocacy group COTA Australia, called on the federal government to acknowledge its clear pre-election promise to make no changes to the age pension and listen to the overwhelming opinions of the electorate.
‘Mr Hockey continues to point first off to pensions and aged care needing to be cut because the budget is in crisis and they are going to make it worse,’ Mr Yates said.
‘Yet the figures the treasurer has released simply don’t support this.
‘According to tables the treasurer released from the Commission of Audit, GDP is rising at a rate of 5.1 per cent and government outlays only at the slightly higher 5.3 per cent – pointing to the need for tightening but not for major cuts to seniors’ living standards.
‘Similarly, pensions are projected to rise at a rate of 6.2 per cent – a modest and sustainable figure given the sizeable rise in the numbers of older Australians in future years, about which we have known for a long time. Indeed, the 2009 Pension Review, which had bipartisan support, confirmed the age pension is sustainable over coming decades.
‘The treasurer’s speech focused on expenditure but not on government revenue and we need to discuss how government pays for the things taxpayers expect it to provide.
‘Critically, the figures the treasurer released leave out the generous tax concessions paid on compulsory superannuation – which benefit the top income earners and are not paid to low income earners at all.
‘An Australian Institute analysis released this week shows that superannuation concessions are higher than the costs of the pension, so the question must be asked: why is the treasurer intent on targeting those who can least afford it, Australia’s pensioners?
‘Australians see the age pension and provision of health and aged care as core business of government and took the government at its word at the last election.
‘It’s time for a comprehensive and holistic look at retirement needs and the ageing population, not this piecemeal approach which targets some people and not others,’ Mr Yates said.
View the Essential Research poll here: http://essentialvision.com.au/category/essentialreport