Centrelink, pension in ALP’s sights

We’ve heard from the Greens and the Coalition about their plans for older Australians. Today, the Australian Labor Party shares its policies and plans to address your top five concerns.


Increase the base rate of the Age Pension; consider a universal age pension
Labor established the Age Pension – and only Labor can be trusted to protect the household budgets of pensioners.

The Liberals promised “no cuts to the pension”. But this was a lie. In every single budget, the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has tried to cut the pension or increase the pension age to 70.

Labor fought every one of these pension cuts tooth and nail.

Had it not been for Labor, pensioners and approaching retirees would be far worse off.

The difference is clear. Labor will always protect the pension and deliver better health services for pensioners.

Address climate change
Labor will reduce pollution, invest in renewable energy and take real action on climate change.

After six years of rising electricity prices, chaos and rising pollution under the Liberals, Australians need stability and certainty on climate change policy – that’s what our plan delivers.

Labor is committed to working with business to reduce Australia’s pollution by 45 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero pollution by 2050.

We are also committed to 50 per cent renewable energy in our electricity mix by 2030. Renewable energy is cheaper and cleaner – it is the smart thing to do.

Healthcare: better access to medicines and diagnostics, universal dental care, improved private health insurance subsidies
A Shorten Labor Government will deliver the biggest cancer care package in Australian history, with a $2.3 billion investment to slash out-of-pocket expenses for cancer patients, which includes eliminating all out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic imaging, with up to six million free cancer scans funded through Medicare.

Labor will also establish a landmark Medicare Pensioner Dental Plan – giving up to three million older Australians access to free dental care.

This will mean all age pensioners and Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card holders will be able to access up to $1000 in dental services for free every two years.

More incentive to work past the age pension age without being financially penalised in terms of pension entitlements
Labor supports Australians working for as long as they want, and we support the extended pension work bonus.

From 1 July 2019, both employed and self-employed social security pensioners over pension age will be eligible for the Work Bonus, and able to earn up to $300 per fortnight from work before this income is assessed under the pension income test. Additionally, the Work Bonus maximum accrual amount will increase to $7800.

Easier access to Centrelink resources and quicker responses
Labor will establish 1200 new permanent and full-time Department of Human Services staff around the country, improving waiting times and services that Australians rely on.

It’s clear that Centrelink is in crisis under this Liberal Government.

The Liberals have cut or outsourced thousands of Centrelink jobs, leaving it understaffed and under-resourced. In this time, Centrelink call and payment wait times have skyrocketed.

Labor will ensure that people can receive assistance when they need it – not be pushed further into hardship by long and uncertain waiting times.

What do you think of Labor’s policies? Do they address your concerns? Which do you think will most help you?

Related articles:
Coalition’s plan for older voters
ALP announces over-55s jobs plan
Greens want Age Pension review

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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