Will welfare payment review boost Age Pension?

The government’s controversial industrial relations bill is set to pass the Senate, thanks to a last-minute deal with ACT Senator David Pocock to review welfare payments every year. What effect will this have on the Age Pension?

As part of the deal to secure Senator Pocock’s vote, the Albanese government has agreed to create, in legislation, an expert advisory panel to be led by the treasurer and the minister for social services. It will conduct annual reviews of the adequacy of support payments ahead of each federal budget.

The Economic Inclusion Advisory Panel will bring together experts, advocacy groups and peak bodies as well as business and union leaders to review the JobSeeker payment and all government support payments including the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension (DSP) and the Parenting Payment.

“This is now a substantially different bill to the one introduced in the House of Representatives a month ago,” Senator Pocock said in a statement.

Read: Will Australia be forced to raise the retirement age?

“In what I believe will be a game changer for people living below the poverty line in our country, the government will now also receive independent expert advice that is made publicly available before each federal budget looking at how the most vulnerable in our community are faring and what needs to change to ensure we don’t leave them behind.”

While much of the publicity surrounding the deal has focused on the JobSeeker payment, will the new deal have a positive impact on older Australians living on the Age Pension or another support payment?

Paul Versteege, policy manager for advocacy group Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Australia (CPSA), says having an expert panel reviewing the adequacy of pension payments may provide the solid evidence needed to make a case for raising the rate.

“This review system is one CPSA and a range of other community and advocacy organisations have argued for for a long time,” he says.

Read: Age Pension cut due to ‘incorrect’ super balance

“JobSeeker will be the focus because so much campaigning has been done based on solid evidence the payment is inadequate, certainly for the long-term employed. This means that an Age Pension campaign would attract similar attention, provided it is based on solid evidence and not just a wish the pension would be higher.”

Mr Versteege also pointed out that older Australians are, in fact, the biggest group of JobSeeker recipients – a fact, he says, that is inflated by people who are forced on to JobSeeker but should be the DSP for health reasons.

“The over-55s are the largest age cohort on JobSeeker, where many should be on the DSP because of certified medical conditions,” he says.

“People with disabilities and long-term illness have been thrown onto JobSeeker in their thousands, which has meant people manifestly unable to work and unable to find work have been and continue to be forced to look for work while surviving on 35 per cent less than the Age Pension or DSP.”

As to whether this change will have a meaningful impact on the lives of older Australians, Mr Versteege says we’ll have to wait and see.

“With any initiative like this, only time will tell if it makes any difference, but a statutory review mechanism triggered whenever the federal government is preparing a budget has got to be an improvement.”

Read: Are you eligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card?

Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS), welcomes the annual reviews but warns governments would need to heed the panel’s recommendations if it is to have the desired effect – something that is not required legally.

“This is an important step to recognise the structural issues in our income support system that entrench poverty and disadvantage, and we congratulate the Albanese government and Senator Pocock for securing this historic outcome including the agreement to legislate this process,” she said.

“It will be crucial that the government acts on the committee’s recommendations, which will no doubt shine a light on the inadequacy of JobSeeker and related payments to meet essential costs.”

Do you think this annual review could make a meaningful difference to government payments such as the Age Pension? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyerhttps://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/bradlockyer/
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.


  1. When it is all said and done no Government cares about the Aged. Everyone seems to forget.we paid taxes all of our working lives and the country wouldn’t be what it is today without the previous generations.
    It infuriates me that pensioners that don’t have super to fall back on get no help. I don’t begrudge the majority of people receiving Rental Assistance (some I do) but why can’t pensioners get an assistance when paying a Mortgage. I know it is an asset but we pay our houses off and suffer. At the end of the day it’s the beneficiary’s that come out on top

  2. I love these, what if and maybe stories from the Government. Doesn’t address anything about the immediate need. This must be what they mean when they talk about ‘futuristic government’.
    Yes people will be suffering by the time any review committee convenes but the suffering is out there NOW and REAL ….

  3. Well, I hope that ‘expert advice” gets rid of that scourge on logic called the married pension.Time to ditch this beast of unfairness and pay single pensions ,and if I hear anyone saying how two can live cheaper than one than I will scream and ask them can four on a single pension living under the same roof live cheaper than those on a married pension., and if so, than why are there payments not adjusted down ?
    You see these fools on a hill years ago, when they dreamed this up were trying to save the government of the day a few quid and the poor had no way of dealing with this, they were lucky at the time to have a radio and it was 2 coconuts and snail mail from “we are God” to get them to stfu and take there medicine.

  4. People are meant to be able to live [modestly] on pensions, which need to increase fairly.
    People who are able to work but choose not to, should not expect to live on JobSeeker as a lifestyle choice!
    2 Thessalonians 3:10
    For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
    There is no excuse for not getting a job these days, with businesses crying out for employees!

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