Federal Budget hits and misses

Louise Biti, director, Aged Care Steps
Hits
A comprehensive response from the government to the aged care royal commission report starts the process for building a better aged care system. The key win was an additional 80,000 home care packages to help reduce the wait for funding.

Misses
We hoped to see better alignment between the subsidies paid for care in the home and those paid for care in a residential setting. While this was missing from this Budget, it may still emerge in future reforms.

Read more: Four key Budget measures for retirees

Jeremy Duffield, chair, SuperEd and Retirement Essentials
Hits
A big budget push to keep the economy recovering from the lows of COVID-19. Lots of goodies. For older Australians, the biggest boost is in aged care spending. Good to see super contributions rules eased for 67 to 74-year-olds. 

Misses
The flipside is that big deficits keep on rolling, in this ‘buy now, pay later’ Budget.  Disappointing to see no relief on the ‘terrible trio’ for pensioners: deeming rates, the Age Pension taper rate and rental assistance.

Read more: Aged care overhaul

Dianne Motton, retiree

The focus was on aged care, which it needs to be seeing how we have neglected our elder citizens. Women are being finally taken notice of, despite always having been half of the population. This is good but is it just a vote-catching appeal?

Janelle Ward, YourLifeChoices editor
Hits
The tweaking of the Pension Loans Scheme is a great step in the right direction, as is the change to the work test. After a ‘blokes’ Budget last year, it’s nice to see policies targeting $3.4 billion towards women, including an additional $1.1 billion for women’s safety measures.

Misses
I applaud the aged care funding but will “hundreds of extra audits” ensure the money is spent wisely and efficiently? And shouldn’t there be a nurse on call in residential aged care 24/7? Climate change initiatives are still sadly inadequate.

Read more: What’s in the Budget for you?

Leon Della Bosca, YourLifeChoices publisher
Hits

Changes to the work test should be welcomed and, if adopted, will help shore up nest eggs for those who missed out on a working life of super. The PLS changes will help those who adopt it, as will the downsizer changes. But …

Misses
… most of the changes that will help older Australians will help only those who will sell or access the equity in their home.

It was optimistic of us to expect an Age Pension base rate increase, especially after last year’s ‘supplements’, but addressing taper rates and deeming (within reason) may have helped our most vulnerable pensioners.

And I agree with the experts on aged care funding. It’s a start, but not enough. Here’s hoping there’s more to come.

Read more: Social media reaction

Paul Rogan, CEO, Pension Boost
Hits
Enhancements to the PLS, the downsizer contributions and making it easier for self-funded retirees to top up their super by abolishing the work test.

Misses
We will continue to advocate for the PLS interest rate to be benchmarked to the RBA official cash rate (or similar) to improve transparency for seniors. We were also hoping to see amendments to wind back the Age Pension taper rates.

Jefferson Gibbs, Actuaries Institute president
Hits
The Actuaries Institute commends the government on the measures to improve flexibility and equity within the superannuation system, especially the removal of the $450 per month threshold for employer payment of the Superannuation Guarantee.

Misses
Big issues remain. The government has not leveraged the Retirement Income Review to make more impactful changes to the retirement incomes system, such as measures to help non-homeowners (renters) in retirement, in particular some of the most at risk of poverty in retirement – single female renters.

What were your hits and misses? Have your say in the comments section below.

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