Dear Treasurer, help us… to help ourselves

The budget fails to address the long term issues confronting longer living older Australians.

Dear Treasurer, help us

... to help ourselves

My Federal Budget 2014 blog is not a deep analysis of the different measures Mr. Hockey has taken to reduce the surplus. Elsewhere I have stated that we do not have a budget emergency, but yes, some prudent savings are necessary for our long-term economic health. And no, I see little point in noticing that a levy is a tax, is a tax, is a tax – which we were promised wouldn’t happen – we all know this anyway.

Briefly, I think this is a mean budget as it beats up on older people, younger people, students, those on welfare; generally the less able. But the most disappointing aspect of this budget is that, whilst the Treasurer claims it is aimed at creating a sustainable welfare system, it is actually failing to address the long-term issues confronting longer-living older Australians at all. The age of entitlement is over, we are told. But at every twist and turn, this and previous federal governments have abrogated their responsibility to create and support sustainable retirement income savings systems.

For instance, it is useless to bleat about the number of older Australians on the Age Pension, while there is very little opportunity to grow a retirement nest egg when the superannuation funds gouge so much in fees. In fact we have the third highest private pension fees in the OECD.

Ditto financial literacy. The financial services industry is continually creating new products which are sophisticated, complex and often very risky. Only a Rhodes Scholar would know enough to reasonably evaluate their suitability within an individual portfolio’s asset mix. Yet ordinary men and women are being told it is their own responsibility to save for an increasingly lengthy retirement, with minimum financial information support from our government or financial services regulators such as Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) or Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Of course older Australians could use the services of financial planners, but once again, this is fraught as so many planners have been caught doing unethical things with their client’s life savings, as evidenced by the collapse of Storm Financial and the recent rogue planner working for Commonwealth Financial Services.

So it’s back to square one with a need for far less complex financial investment options for retirement, urgent support in financial literacy for those about to leave full-time work, and a restructuring of access to superannuation which prevents us from spending our hard-earned savings far too quickly and then being forced onto a meagre pension which seems to be shrinking before our eyes.

Most importantly, rather than roll back the FOFA reforms, we need ever stricter supervision of the financial planners who purport to know how to advise us to invest our life savings. And rather than freezing the Superannuation Guarantee Contribution (SGC) for four years, we should be raising it from 9.5 per cent to 15 per cent as quickly as we are able. This measure alone would ensure the Age Pension does become sustainable sooner rather than later.

It is time the Treasurer set the conditions which would allow us to save more to finance ourselves in our later lives.

Governments have many levers – sadly this budget shows only the spending side of the equation being addressed, to the detriment of all those in, or entering, retirement.

What do you think? Is this budget a missed opportunity? Or are you happy with most of the measures?





    COMMENTS

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    Golden Oldie
    14th May 2014
    11:05am
    One thing that also struck me is the way Hockey kept on saying that decreases in the newstart allowance and other "supplements" would not do any harm, as they were only supplements and additional to earned income. No consideration for the amount of income earned, which in most cases is totally inadequate for existing. This was in the interview on Channel 2 after the budget speech. He is totally ignoring the plight of the severely disadvantaged people in our community.
    lindylou
    14th May 2014
    12:26pm
    Well said Golden Oldie.
    I am so very disappointed in this newly elected Government - so pleased I did NOT vote for them and their severely broken promises and lies, the way they are continually hurting the lower income families of this great country and the future - the children - and their parent/s who are trying to make a future for themselves and their children. Shaking my head in shame. How must we look to other Countries. :(
    Old Fella
    14th May 2014
    12:54pm
    The Treasurer is one minister of a total government. The total government pre consider and approve their budget before requesting the Treasurer to implement their wishes. It is the Government , currently Liberal/National Party who are surgically discriminating against the disadvantaged and least capable of our community and those among us who are least able to defend themselves. All and Any Government waving a Utopia flag for the wealthy and prosperous to gather around, has always created floored plans, mostly financial, sadly because they aren't capable of seeing humanity outside a $ value. A Government destined for failure again.
    If not also stolen by the current flag bearers, I look forward to casting my next vote for civilised Government, perhaps one day before I leave mortality , I might get lucky and elect a winning Government for community , society and Australia.
    MargaretS
    14th May 2014
    1:12pm
    I really didn't expect this government to be a caring and sharing one....but this is one Budget they should not be proud of. They took it on themselves to beat up the so-called deficit until they had to do something like last night's budget in order to maintain some form of credibility. But just how galling was it to watch the PM sitting smirking and giggling behind the Treasurer while the edict was being read..... How are the impoverished youth to live? I suggest you all start thinking twice about carrying money when you go out. Oh, by the way, did you hear the cost of the search for the Malaysian Airlines plane...? $36M !! Just so Phoney Tony can look good on the worldwide stage. Sad but true folks! These Libs have strange priorities indeed. With the raised costs of seeing a Doctor and safety net changes for PBS medicines, one could perhaps think that the government has found a back door to slip euthanasia through. You can't kill people or assist them to help kill themselves, but if they can't afford their lifesaving medications, then that's just one of those things....isn't it?
    KSS
    14th May 2014
    1:29pm
    "I really didn't expect this government to be a caring and sharing "

    I can level the same criticism at you Margaret S. You are complaining about $36m cost of searching for a missing plane. Is that because it was a Malaysian plane? What if it had been a QANTAS jet? May I remind you there were 6 Australians on that plane. What if they were your relatives? Would it be too much then? The cost of the search and recovery is being shared among Malaysia, China (most passengers) US, and yes Australia and others. Malaysia has already acknowledge that Australia should not be burdened with the lions share of costs just because we are geographically closer to the assumed crash site. It has nothing to do with what conclusions you may have made about Mr Abbott. What exactly do you want? For Australia not to assist and leave the Australian on that failed flight where they current lay and to h*** with them? I wonder what their families would want.
    Kevie
    14th May 2014
    1:57pm
    Yes Kaye, you are correct about the inefficiencies of the superannuation systems available.
    I do not believe for a moment that so called "financial planners" and "superannuation funds' are there for their clients benefit at all but, firstly and most importantly, for themselves.
    I believe that "superannuation" should be owned collectively by the people and that we collectively employ the best financial brains to administer it. It should once again be owned by the government (as it once was) and transparently administered by people who are answerable to us.
    The sad fact is, that those who caused the worldwide financial collapse are now back as secure as ever in their cocooned towers and are calling on the poor and vulnerable to finance their folly.
    I voted for this Liberal government (as I have for all of my 66 years) because I was disillusioned with the lies and deceit of their predecessors. My disappointment is profound that our new Coalition Government, elected on a platform of honesty and integrity, has betrayed our trust in a most deplorable and reprehensible manner.
    I hope they do not try to excuse their actions by further lies and half truths.
    We have been played for suckers...
    sexeebear
    14th May 2014
    2:09pm
    ive never been political in Australia as i recon most politicians and their entourages are corrupt as has been proven time and time again. reality check
    we cant afford 3 levels of government and Canberra is the least effective and most costly it has to go
    Would Malaysia spend 63 million and counting on a Qantas plane if it was missing no!!! so why are we.
    if we apparently cant afford to look after pensioners, the backbone of the country, for over 50 yrs mostly, why are we taking in migrants. we can afford them. why are we giving scullions in overseas aid and why are we fighting other countries wars. there's your deficit guys.. our own pensioners who in some cases are living as badly off as these immigrants are being disadvantaged even though they've paid the bills forever..
    most pensioners cant afford to run a car but we have this bleating middle class with kids or not getting all sorts of benefits and their 2 incomes running round in new cars having beauty treatments and expensive holiday while pensioners barely afford to have a haircut 2 x a year and life on a pension is not a holiday its a financial nightmare even with the so called free rail travel. you cant get on it and any way no pensioner afford the accommodation when you get there.... holidays a thing of the past.. dog food .cat food. free food .and out of date food .cold showers. lights of,vege garden here we come... lets just hope we don't get sick as it ll be better to terminate than to not have services because you need them but cant afford them, doctors hospitals dental hearing optical and the list goes on.. this wasn't the deal 52 years ago when i first became a taxpayer.. god save Australia as the government cant

    Government perks now and in retirement. com cars. excessive super and the list goes on.. we cant afford it anymore and its often abused like polies kids driving govt provided cars willie nillie. what a mess they've got us in and were forced to vote ... for what ??? more incompetence? Clive Palmer in his present firm is a joke so it would seem but at least he so clueless he just might work .. the alternatives arnt working. we never did have or would have had a financial crisis it was just another beat up how guilabile some of us are.
    particolor
    15th May 2014
    9:59am
    I'll bet You feel heaps Better Sexeebear after getting that off Your Chest ?? But don't expect any Changes Real Soon !!...
    Young
    14th May 2014
    2:47pm
    A great budget.Joe spoke with passion and no notes at the media conference.
    We have to look at the budget at what it will do for Australia and not what individuals get out of it.
    Dotty
    14th May 2014
    10:08pm
    Well Woolly, A great Budget for whom ! Certainly not in my house being entirely dependent on the aged Pension !
    Hopefully you may be better off financially than I am !!
    Dotty
    particolor
    15th May 2014
    10:05am
    Spoken with Passion? A Grin !! and no Notes !! A medical Marvel !! Finally someone who can remember what they lied about last week !!.. Give the Clow..ERR!! Man a CIGAR !!!
    berylpat
    14th May 2014
    4:03pm
    One measure which would help would have been to have superannuation frozen to be used for providing an income in retirement only. Even a small amount would help people through the early years of retirement whilst they adjust to a smaller income to spend. It might make people rethink taking on debt in their sixties.
    Aurora60
    17th May 2014
    10:06pm
    don't agree with that. I had an unexpected and debilitating back problem and was put on Newstart though God knows I can barely walk let alone work although I am expected to. If I hadn't had access to my super to pay off my house, not only would I be out on the street but broke too and so would my son, his girlfriend and their baby who are struggling to save for a house of their own.
    Mak
    14th May 2014
    5:40pm
    I fail to understand what many people are complaining for, this is a temporary budget to get Australia out of the black hole we are in.

    Many people complained about the Labor government, but didn't complain about $900 given to everyone by Rudd, free set-top boxes, free home insulation.

    Rudd & Gillard were the worst ministers ever appointed to govern Australia, both puppets on a string for the union controllers.

    The majority of people complained about Rudd and the constant queue of illegal boat people, the billions of dollars given willy-nilly to lots of countries who held out their hands.

    Gillard stole thousands of dollars from the AWU union fund, Thompson was another crook, as were many other ministers who are now appearing before a Royal Commission into fraud, receiving large sums of money from the AWU and private businesses.

    Australia was heading down to the bottom of the cess-pool under the weight of Labor mis-management, as with previous Labor governments, the Lib/National have to step in and make severe changes to right the wrong-doings and of course it hits hard.

    Most honest people wanted something done to stop the dole-bludgers, Rudd & Gillard did very little to slow them down.

    How many people think that Labor will scrap everything that the current budget brought on, not in your wildest dreams, and if you think you have been given a difficult time ahead, how would you survive a recession, which is where we were heading under Labor.

    Shorten makes negative comments about everything Abbott, yet he is a liar, a back-stabber, a crook and a rapist, and a union man through and through.

    Before you vote again, add the, "What If....." factor, remove the blinkers, read and research every word in the budget and discover the areas where you will benefit.

    Look at the large amount of government workers being made redundant, it could have been YOU!
    particolor
    14th May 2014
    9:37pm
    I never got a Set Top Box or Pink Bats ?? Where can I apply ??
    Nor a Bottle of Grange for that Matter ?? And what Party handed out the Blinkers ??STREWTH !! I dipped out on most things including Brains for reading some of this Crap !!!
    Kato
    14th May 2014
    9:20pm
    He said it may find a cure for this and for that, the main one he missed is we desperately need to find a cure for political bullshit = lies
    particolor
    15th May 2014
    8:16am
    How to undo a Reef Knot..
    Push both sides inward and WALLAH !!!
    Nightshade
    14th May 2014
    9:24pm
    An abuse of the people of Australia & their beloved nation
    by
    His Eminence The Honorable Joseph Benadictus Hockey
    This is not about the Australian budget
    All of this is about blooding yourself
    An initiation
    Proving you have the balls
    Showing off the machismo hairs on your chest.
    Being worthy of your Global colleagues
    Nightshade
    14th May 2014
    9:25pm
    His Eminence The Honorable Joseph Benedictus Hockey
    The Chicken Feather Salesman
    Nightshade
    14th May 2014
    9:38pm
    As a result of the budget implications
    Australia is today seen as a third world nation run by losers - clowns
    Who will do business with a clown ?
    The best is yet to come, because we have not hit rock bottom yet, but we will & they will not know what to do as we spin out of control.

    There is a plan for Australia to help mop up some of the Global Refugee Mess that the West's Looting of other nations in the world has made :-

    Malcolm Fraser - in his book has stated that Australia must embrace migration to the tune of at least 30 million or more people, so as to able to defend it's self in case of threat.
    In truth it is to help clean up & empty Europe & the Asia- Pacific Regions & not us.
    We have massive unemployment & it is designed to get worse, any influx of migration will decimate us.
    Have a little listen to frasers interview with Robert Manne -
    particolor
    14th May 2014
    10:17pm
    You should cop the Size of the Bumpers the rich buggers are Dropping outside of Coles now !! I gathered up Two pockets full yesterday and saved 90 Bucks of Tax He wont be getting now !!.. I hope they don't make Me Crook and have to visit the Doctor.
    particolor
    14th May 2014
    9:46pm
    Yes I'm very happy with the Budget !!.. But do we get a FREE Begging Bowl with it, to continue the Lavish Lifestyles to which we have become Accustomed ??.. And will they come in a Range of Colours ??
    Golden Oldie
    14th May 2014
    11:37pm
    Unfortunately in this user pays society you will have to pay for your begging bowl. I hope you don't get sick because all the miracle cures from the medical research will also be out of your reach, because by the time they are discovered Medicare will be disbanded. This has been done before, and will probably be done again.
    particolor
    15th May 2014
    8:09am
    What was New before shall be New again ! And never the Twain shall meet !.
    I know not what it is nor Whence it came ?? Do unto others before They Shaft You !!
    kareob2
    14th May 2014
    10:02pm
    I think it is to harsh. My parents worked out in the field picking vegetables and flowers on farms plus my dad was a fisherman. Now in their 80s, they are finding it hard to live on what they get now. My heart cry's out
    for pensioners. Some go with out heating or cooling because they cant afford electricity.
    particolor
    15th May 2014
    8:11am
    "BRRRR !!!"
    particolor
    15th May 2014
    8:13am
    In dem Ole Goddamn fields back home !..
    Credence..
    rtrish
    15th May 2014
    9:46am
    Does anyone know if there's any change to the Essential Medical Equipment Payment, which helps eligible households with any impact from the carbon price on everyday expenses? It's for those who pay unavoidable, increased electrical bills for medical equipment e.g. CPAP for sleep apnoea.
    Debbie McTaggart
    15th May 2014
    11:00am
    Good morning rtrish, there's no mention of this payment in the budget, so it should remain.
    particolor
    15th May 2014
    11:11am
    rtrish... As far as I know there will be no Change for this payment !!..
    Yet !

    15th May 2014
    10:47am
    Perhaps the Federal Govt has turned into the FERAL Govt
    rtrish
    15th May 2014
    10:49am
    Ha ha! I like it.
    particolor
    15th May 2014
    10:57am
    Never since FERALATION have I read such a Disgusting remark !!
    tuddles
    15th May 2014
    10:55am
    how many times over the years have Pensioners been asked to tighten their belt, was not rearing this country with blood sweat and tears enough that we have to go on [doing our bit] for Gods sake leave us in peace to enjoy our last few years instead of being hounded by fat cats that sit on their butts ,and get their good pay for helping to kill people under the guise of running this country, and dear old Hocky says how he walked the Kokoda trail you know very well you were assisted by others including ,may I say, a Labour man.Ha.
    particolor
    15th May 2014
    11:02am
    Whilst being carried in a Stretcher and Smoking an Havana Stoggie, by 18 Strong Litter Bearers on each end !!
    rob101
    15th May 2014
    11:17am
    The Federal Govt is reducing the pool of money set aside to cover Utilities and other Conncesions.The Victorian Govt has said they will cover the short fall,at this time ,but cant Guarantee this in the future.The reduction starts on July 1st this year.

    robert 101

    16th May 2014
    10:53am
    We have the Labor party which stands for wicked things like same sex marriage and yet opposes welfare cuts. We have the Liberal party which opposes wicked things yet cuts welfare. The two parties need to morph together, then there will be no wicked things made legal and no cuts to welfare.
    rob101
    16th May 2014
    2:39pm
    to quote Billy Connoly"Don't vote for the B******S,it only encourages them!

    robert101
    Golden Oldie
    17th May 2014
    11:22pm
    Unfortunately, when you vote you will get a politician.
    particolor
    18th May 2014
    7:58am
    You will get a Parrot of the same Breed as the one You didn't want !!

    18th May 2014
    8:20pm
    Bring in a universal superannnuation system and get people to contribute no less than 20% to it all their working life and give everyone a pension regardless of their income or assets.
    particolor
    19th May 2014
    8:46am
    ..Stop it Radish !!! Tony will not enjoy paying 57,000 Bucks a year into Super !!
    particolor
    19th May 2014
    8:48am
    Error...Make that 114,000 Bucks !! I didn't notice that Your Budget was twice as High !!
    bookwyrm
    18th May 2014
    10:55pm
    Tony Abbott promised on National TV that there would be no cuts to pensions or nwther benefits. This was an election promise. This government must be blocked in the Senate as they have broken so many promises it‘s hard to keep count. Abbott deliberately lied just to get elected! Under this mad government Australia will go down the gurgler fast!
    particolor
    19th May 2014
    8:58am
    Pinocchio ended up being a real Boy !! But I don't think there is any hope for this one !!
    rob101
    19th May 2014
    9:04am
    to everybody who voted for the current Govt(you know who you are!)thanks for nothing!

    robert101
    particolor
    19th May 2014
    9:12am
    Robert there was no need to thank them !! They will suffer like us !!!..
    Kato
    27th Jul 2014
    1:06pm
    Lisa Owen began by asking him how much trouble the Australian economy was in given his drastic measures in the recent Budget.

    Joe Hockey: The Australian economy is not in trouble. We’ve had 23 years of consecutive economic growth.


    Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Interview-Joe-Hockey/tabid/1348/articleID/354234/Default.aspx#ixzz38dLvSp61


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