A scan of media releases from key federal ministers since last year’s Budget shows that not a single portfolio considered the financial issues plaguing age pensioners.
Two issues loosely tied to the Age Pension made headlines in the past year – the superannuation incentive for downsizers and whether franking-credit cashbacks should be paid to retirees – but neither spoke to the plight of cash-strapped pensioners because they are less likely to own a home or share investments.
At YourLifeChoices, we are disappointed that politicians seem to be ignoring how tough it is to make ends meet for tens of thousands of older Australians.
Since last May, retirees who are renting have experienced cost-of-living expenses that have risen at a faster rate than the twice yearly indexed increases in the Age Pension.
Why have our politicians been so silent about the growing number of impoverished seniors?
We are determined to hear what the major political parties really think about this and other thorny issues that worry you, as expressed in your responses to our regular surveys and via emails and the Meeting Place.
While planning for this year’s May Budget enters the home stretch, we are putting 10 questions to the Coalition Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer; Labor Shadow Minister for Families and Services Jenny Macklin, and Greens Senator for Western Australia Rachel Siewert to bring their focus back to the issues facing older Australians. Hopefully, their responses will help us better understand their plans for the welfare of older Australians, retirement income, health and support services.
YourLifeChoices is asking for their thoughts on the following topics:
- proposed increase in pension age
- scrapping of the energy supplement
- pensioner eligibility assets and income limits
- the merit of the downsizing policy to boost superannuation savings
- potential reversal of excluding the family home from pension tests
- retention of franking credits by the Australian Taxation Office
- soaring cost of energy and private health insurance
- increasing rental assistance
- reducing superannuation concessions in favour of a universal pension
- what single policy measure of your party will do the most for the wellbeing of older Australians?
What questions would you put to politicians on the issue of affordability in retirement?