Greens want Age Pension review

More than seven in 10 older Australians say the Federal Government is not doing enough to support retirees, according to YourLifeChoices research.

Those Australians will have their voices heard at the federal election on 18 May.

There are approximately 300,000 more voters aged 70 and over enrolled to vote than there were for the 2016 election – a 13 per cent increase. In the same time, enrolments for voters aged 18 to 34 grew by about three per cent.

In the 2019 Insights Survey, which received almost 8000 responses, you said you wanted: an increase in the Age Pension, to be able to earn more without losing Age Pension entitlements and better access to Centrelink.

Further polling revealed your top five concerns to be:

  • increasing the base rate of the Age Pension; considering a universal age pension
  • addressing climate change
  • gaining better access to medicines and diagnostics, universal dental care, improved private health insurance subsidies
  • developing incentives to work past the age pension age without being financially penalised in terms of pension entitlements
  • gaining easier access to Centrelink resources and quicker responses.

 

On your behalf, we presented them to the three major parties – the Greens, Liberals and Labor – for comment. Today, we present the Greens’ responses.

1. Increase the base rate of the Age Pension; consider a universal age pension
The Greens are committed to addressing the structural barriers that older Australians on low incomes are facing, including better access to safe and affordable housing and increasing the rate of income support payments, such as Newstart, to assist older Australians before they reach age pension age.

We would establish an Independent Equality Commission, which would be responsible for setting the rates of income support payments and would consider the establishment of a universal age pension.

2. Address climate change
Climate change threatens our way of life and the lives of our children and grandchildren and that is why we need to transition our economy to clean energy. By transitioning to 100 per cent renewable energy, re-regulating electricity prices and establishing a pubic energy retailer, we can lower energy bills and ensure a safer future for all.

The Greens would also increase the Energy Supplement by 30 per cent. By shifting to clean energy, Australia can future proof our economy and create a new clean export economy exporting clean energy to the world.

3. Healthcare: better access to medicines and diagnostics, universal dental care, improved private health insurance subsidies
The Greens would create a truly universal health system designed to keep people well, which provides the care you need when you need it, regardless of your illness, postcode or bank balance.

We would also address the acute problem of public hospital waiting lists through an additional injection of funding. Our plan includes: universal dental care, increased investment in Medicare and the redirection of the private health insurance rebate into public healthcare.

4. More incentive to work past the age pension age without being financially penalised in terms of pension entitlements
The Greens believe older Australians should be able to continue working past the age pension age without being unfairly penalised financially. We support improving the employment outcomes for older Australians through flexible work arrangements, skills development and protection against age discrimination.

Easier access to Centrelink resources and quicker responses
The Greens consistently advocate on behalf of all Australians to make Centrelink more accessible, effective and efficient. We are committed to ensuring older Australians are able to access Centrelink resources and will continue to hold the Government to account regarding Centrelink wait times and application processing times.

Do you believe the Greens can put sufficient pressure on the Government to achieve their policy agendas?

Related articles:
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Pensioners the losers in CPI stakes
Older voters highlight system’s flaws

Written by Janelle Ward

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