Budget a good start, but older Australians need more, experts say

Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered his third Federal Budget on Tuesday, and it was packed with cost-of-living relief measures, many of which benefits older Australians in particular.

But like any public policy, there are those who love it – and those who feel they or the group they’re advocating for have been let down.


Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia CEO Patricia Sparrow says that two measures in particular would assist older Australians – the energy rebate and the freeze on what pensioners and concession card holders will pay for PBS medications.

“The $300 energy rebate for every household will help the hip pockets of older people who are struggling to pay their electricity and gas bills,” she says.

“Our recent research shows that one in four older people have overdue energy bills, so this is an important relief measure we hope becomes a permanent feature. In addition, many older people struggle to afford the medicines they need so the five-year freeze on what pensioners and concession cardholders will pay for PBS medications will also provide significant relief.

She also praised the housing measures listed in the budget.

“The housing measures in the budget will go some way to alleviating the affordable housing crisis Australia is facing. Older women are one of the fastest growing groups at risk of homelessness and many older men are sleeping rough – a shocking statistic that governments need to address.

“The 10 per cent increase in the Commonwealth Rent Assistance payment is welcomed and will help many older renters. This year and last year’s increases are a step towards the 60 per cent increase that’s needed.”


Sandra Hills, CEO of aged care providers Benetas acknowledged the positive impact the announced measures would have on older Australians, but said more work needs to be done to improve the aged care sector.

“The financial sustainability of our sector and its ability to support our ageing population into the future is a critical issue facing aged care providers,” she said.

“Not allowing providers to retain a portion of the Refundable Accommodation Deposit, as part of this budget, is a missed opportunity to provide immediate and crucial funding to support the sector.”

Ms Hill says attracting a retaining staff in the sector is one of its biggest challenging, so the wage increase for aged care staff was particularly welcome.

“We welcome the government’s investment of $88.4 million to continue to attract and retain workers,” she says.

“Including fully funding the wage rises arising from Stage 3 of the Work Value Case, to support the sector to continue to deliver vital care for Australians.”


The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) was a bit more forthcoming with its negative opinion on the budget, declaring the document had a “hole in its heart”.

“This is a budget that has diagnosed the right problems but has failed to deliver the solutions we need,” ACOSS says in a statement.

“This budget will deliver eyewatering tax cuts to the wealthiest people in the country and, at the same time, it cruelly denies the increase in income support that over one million people struggling to survive on JobSeeker and Youth Allowance desperately need.”

However, the advocacy group did praise the extra funding Services Australia will receive to clear the backlog of claims.

“ACOSS also welcomes the $600m per year over three years for frontline staff at Services Australia to reduce the backlog of claims,” they said.

“Services Australia needs investment to improve service delivery so that people are not waiting months for payment claims to come through.”

Super Members Council

On a more positive note, the Super Members Council (SMC) praised the budget as a “super-sized investment in women” and will go far in addressing the superannuation gap between the genders.

In particular, SMC CEO Misha Schubert says the decision to now pay superannuation on parental leave, which is disproportionately taken by women, will make the average mother of two more than $14,000 better off at retirement.

“The historic announcement to pay super on parental leave takes Australia another major stride closer to ending the financial motherhood penalty many women face when they have children,” she says.

“It’s a watershed reform that will powerfully strengthen retirement savings for Australian mums and help to narrow the gender gap at retirement.”

Women still retire with about one-third less super than men, despite living longer and retiring earlier on average. SMC says that proportionally, retirement savings for women in their 30s are actually going backwards compared with previous years.

SMSF Association

But not everyone in the superannuation industry was satisfied with the budget. Fabian Bussoletti, technical manager for the Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) Association says there was very little for those holding an SMSF.

“As expected, the 2024-25 Federal Budget has a strong emphasis on easing cost of living pressures” he says.

“To that end, in addition to the previously legislated personal income tax cuts, the Government notably announced an initiative to deliver energy bill relief for all Australian households and certain small businesses.

“In that context, it’s not entirely surprising that from an SMSF perspective there was an absence of any notable new announcements likely to have a direct impact on the SMSF landscape.”

Were you satisfied with the budget? Which areas of the economy would you like to see boosted? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Federal Budget 2024: Biggest winners revealed

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. Yes each of these groups is right for their constituents, but many aged pensioners, who are trying to survive in their own home and who are struggling. The energy rebate will give back less than a third of what our increase was this year and the PBS freeze is promising a freeze into another term of government (who may or may not honor it), but doesn’t compensate for the increase we have had during these trying times or the issues with availability.

    Unlike those on jobseeker, aged pensioners can’t go out and get part-time work or can’t share a house with others and still get a full pension. Appreciate a lot got something, but aged Australians who are reliant on the aged pension and trying to remain in their own homes so as to not be a burden, got nothing.

    Tax breaks won’t compensate most aged Australians dependent on the aged pension for the increasing cost of living, which the aged pension reviews are also not keeping up with. For example, older Australians who downsized and went into strata buildings have seen their levies increase by 25%+, groceries have more than doubled for the same basket, travel costs have ballooned, insurance has escalated astronomically, power, gas, internet and telephone have all increased significantly.

    If you are in your own home, maintenance costs have increased significantly, and unlike those who have stayed in free-standing houses, people in shared housing such as strata can’t defer it. It is just another expense to be paid.

    The Prime Minister recently admitted costs had escalated and his government was going to do something to help all Australians. Clearly aged pensioner couples trying to survive in their own home, have been overlooked by the government yet again.

    Even the government Cost of Living Hubs don’t have anything new and most older pensioners are already utilizing everything they offer and more, but short of living off savings which were supposed to help them through the end of their lives, they will struggle to survive.

    Maybe this is a government plan. Fewer aged Australians will free up more homes, and reduce government costs. What a cruel heartless vision.

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