Labor won’t reverse asset changes

Any one hoping that a Labor Government will reverse the change to the Age Pension asset thresholds and taper rate will be disappointed, with Bill shorten announcing yesterday that, due to budget constraints, his party would not be able to make the necessary changes.

Criticising the changes when announced in the 2015/16 Budget, the Labor Party said that 330,000 pensioners would lose all or part of their Age Pension and the changes would affect 700,000 people currently in their 50s and 60s.

Reversing the asset threshold changes, which will take effect from 1 January 2017, would cost $3.55 billion over four years. The changes were supported by the Greens, which gave the Government the numbers to have them pass as legislation. Speaking on radio in Darwin, Mr Shorten said, “we still think they’re not the best changes and that’s why when the Greens and the Liberals voted together on pension changes we registered our disagreement”.

“We do not believe … that we’re in a position to restore the changes they’ve made or reverse the changes they’ve made to the pension assets test,” he added. He also noted that this was a first-term issue and should the Labor Government be voted in and serve a second term, then the issue will be readdressed.

It’s not all bad news though, with pension income an area where part pensioners could see a win.

“What we will do is … we will review our pensions income because we’re not convinced that meddling with part-pensioners is the best way to go for Australians,” Mr Shorten said.


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