The Coalition’s plan for older Australians

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Almost four in 10 of YourLifeChoices members feel overlooked by the major parties, according to our Friday Flash Poll: Who do you trust?

With the number of older voters steadily increasing year by year – 300,000 more voters aged 70 and over enrolled to vote than there were for the 2016 election – surely the major parties would focus on attracting votes from this cohort?

YourLifeChoices has been monitoring the issues that matter most to over 55s. From our own research through surveys and polling, we know the top five issues of concern include the need to:

  • increase the base rate of the Age Pension; consider a universal Age Pension
  • address climate change
  • gain better access to medicines and diagnostics, universal dental care and improved private health insurance subsidies
  • develop incentives to work past the Age Pension age without being financially penalised in terms of pension entitlements
  • gain easier access to Centrelink resources and have quicker responses.

We presented these findings to the three major parties – the Greens, Liberals and Labor – for comment. Today, we hear from the Coalition …

•••

Increase the base rate of the Age Pension; consider a universal Age Pension
Since the Coalition was elected, pensions have increased by $117.80 per fortnight for singles and by $177.40 per fortnight for couples combined.

The Coalition also opened up the Pension Loans Scheme to all older Australians with securable real estate owned in Australia, including full rate pensioners of Age Pension age and self-funded retirees, so a pensioner couple on maximum rate can boost their retirement income by up to $18,150.60, without impacting on their eligibility for the pension or other benefits.

The Morrison Government has provided $365 million to make a one-off Energy Assistance Payment of $75 for singles and $62.50 for each eligible member of a couple to around five million income support recipients, including those on the Age Pension.

Address climate change
Climate change is a global issue that requires a global solution. The Morrison Government is committed to Australia playing its part in that global solution to reduce emissions. Under the Morrison Government, Australia’s emissions are currently at their lowest level on a per capita and GDP basis in 28 years. Australia contributes to just over one per cent of global emissions.

The Morrison Government’s 2030 target to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels is responsible and achievable. This target will see a reduction in emissions per person halve by 2030. This is one of the strongest efforts among G20 countries.

You can read more about the Morrison Government’s plan for the environment here: https://www.liberal.org.au/our-plan/environment

Healthcare: better access to medicines and diagnostics, universal dental care, and improved private health insurance subsidies
The Morrison Government’s Long-Term National Health Plan is providing Australians with access to quality medical care, record hospital funding, affordable life-saving medicines and breakthrough research for new drugs and treatments.

Our goal is to make our health system even stronger and to ensure it is the best in the world.

By keeping our economy strong we will ensure the essential health services that Australians rely on, such as Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Medicare funding is at record levels. Almost nine out of 10 Australians who visit the doctor have no out-of-pocket costs with GP bulk-billing rates at a record 86 per cent, up from 82 per cent under Labor.

We are keeping the cost of healthcare down by increasing funding for diagnostic services such as MRIs and PET scans to detect breast cancer.

In partnership with GPs, we will improve options for more flexible care to meet the needs of patients and to keep them healthy and out of hospital with a $1.6 billion package to strengthen primary care.

Australians have access to the latest medicines through the PBS – with reduced costs on more than 2000 new and amended medicines listings since 2013, thanks to an investment of $10.6 billion. These medicines are saving and changing lives.

Record funding will be provided for public hospitals with an additional $31 billion from 2020–2021 to 2024–2025 to employ more nurses, doctors and specialists, delivering – in partnership with the states and territories – more surgeries and medical services.

You can read more about the Morrison Government’s plan for health here: https://www.liberal.org.au/our-plan/health and here: https://www.liberal.org.au/our-plan-strengthening-australias-world-class-health-system

More incentive to work past the Age Pension age without being financially penalised in terms of pension entitlements.
The Coalition extended and expanded the Pension Work Bonus from 1 July 2019 to:

  • include self-employed pensioners; and
  • increase the Bonus from $250 to $300 per fortnight, with the maximum accrual increasing from $6500 to $7800.

The Work Bonus increases the amount an eligible pensioner can earn from employment before it affects their pension rate.

You can read more about the Morrison Government’s plan to support retirees here: https://www.liberal.org.au/our-plan-support-retirees

Easier access to Centrelink resources and quicker responses
The Department of Human Services’ (the Department) Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation Programme is changing the way the Government delivers welfare payments now and into the future. Improving older Australians’ experiences with the Department is a top priority.

The Department will continue to invest in new technology to deliver improved Centrelink and Medicare services for all Australians.

The Government is committed to making it easier for all Australians to access Centrelink services, and in 2018–2019 provided $50 million to the Department to target call wait times and improve service delivery.

Wait times on the Department’s phone lines are being reduced as a result of our investment in an additional 2,750 call centre workers – who are now on board answering calls and the results are speaking for themselves.

To read about our plan for a stronger economy and a more secure Australia, visit: https://www.liberal.org.au/our-plan

What do you think of these responses? Do they address your concerns? Do you have any other questions for the Coalition? Let us know in the comments section below.

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RELATED LINKS

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Universal age pension and review of payment rates on the Greens' agenda.

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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134 Comments

Total Comments: 134
  1. 0
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    The coalition only has one plan for retirees: kick them off any pension and make them eat their house. Its been happening for the past 6 years and my prediction is that the family home will be put in the assets test if this lot get back in.

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      They want 40% death tax on the family home, so what can be done is that offer vendor finance to your children, they pay weekly and you draw it out of the bank and give back the cash to them, then they put it back in, do it over and over till paid off, you only pay duty, well if asked about where it has gone say you have a nasty gambling habit.

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      Mick, It’s time we had a Pensioner’s political party, representing us.
      There are several million age pensioners and I can’t understand why this large number of voters can’t influence the major parties to treat pensioners fairly and decently.
      The better idea is to introduce a universal age pension. Just get the big end of town to pay it’s fair share of taxes…The tax system would sort any inequalities and it would get rid of the micro management of pensioners by Centrelink and save a fortune in admin costs…

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      Agree 100% with thommo !!

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      Yes thommo …agree we are a lot and we really can make some damage to any party ….. for sure…..

    • 0
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      won’t take long for some enterprising folk to turn Nerk’s idea into a business opportunity

    • 0
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      thommo, johnp and Aussie, the demographics are in your favour if they could only organise. You likely don’t need as many pensioners as you might think to achieve your ends. There are enough seats on less than 5% margins to change the government. Therefore you would only need around 5,000 voters per electorate who would not have voted for the incumbent to vote as a bloc and affect the result, and then repeat this in other electorates.

      One challenge you have to overcome is tradition and apathy, roughly 50% more retirees vote LNP than ALP and few change their votes from one election to another. Retirees are also over represented in votes for the other right wing parties and candidates and so bleed preferences to LNP.

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      The family home will go on the asset test never mind which party gets in. It is that or a healthy inheritance tax. It is the case in most countries I know of and I am going thru that at the moment from Europe. The excuse is always: we are all getting older and we need more money! Since there are no jobs any more in ordinary industries like it has been pointed out in these columns many times, the young ones do not earn enough money to pay enough taxes to get the funds – hence death duties is a given. So set up the family before you kick it but then the Commos (greens) might get you anyway. Bionjorno Sr di Natale!!

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      OK Mick you are right but it is not only the Libs that want you spent the money you have at present. Labor’s philosophy is the same – do not build up nest eggs for the next generation! Not many countries have tax exempt housing for taxation purposes. My old place still has an asset tax (not very high) and your house’s equity is always counted. I am sure our politicians look overseas for their woeful inspirations.

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      Hi Thommo, see my posts further down the page re Seniors United Party of Australia (SUPA). If we get enough of us putting a 1 in Column U of the NSW senate ballot paper then we’ll have that much needed voice in parliament. If we don’t get those votes then we will continue to have no-one representing seniors.

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      Good thinking, Nerk.. the ex and I between us have five kids (not together) – we’re up-pricing and downsizing to suit her needs primarily, and will have a mortgage of $550 or so fortnightly – transfer it to them, they pay $110 each, and there are no ‘death duties’ etc.

    • 0
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      thommo, johnp and Aussie, you are quite correct.

      3 Million+ retirees (around 20% of the electorate) do have power to change the results if they join in and turf out the rabble (Liberal, Labor & Greens) who have repeatedly attacked the retirees. Note also that 44 out of 151 seats in the Lower House are on less than 5% Margins so such a group strategy can make a difference to the results.
      Choose whoever you like as the 1st preference, but ensure you vote the current MP of any of these parties LAST (or just above extremists).

  2. 0
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    Why does the article keep referring to the ‘Morrison Government’ instead of the Coalition? Implies a lack of front bench depth.

    • 0
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      Agnomen….That’s because the Morrison Government runs the show. The Nationals, One Nation and United Australia Party are sidekicks.

    • 0
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      and if media exposure is anything to go by it appears Morrison is the only one out there campaigning … where are the next LNP cabinet debating their policies? The election strategy is for a presidential campaign behind Morrison and kick the rest to the sidelines.

    • 0
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      I think the rest of them are in witness protection Farside. With the likes of Barnaby, Dutton, Price and so on it’s no wonder.

    • 0
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      43 Ministers out of 76 seats tends to make the pool rather shallow, don’t you think? Then there is the question of the real ability of those ‘ministers’….

  3. 0
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    Well there is no need to make anything up or exaggerate about death duties or taking the family home etc they have shown us they are broken. Lots have been hidden and not on show for this campaign. In fighting and back stabbing is enough to lose this election. Far right pollies making this mob look heartless and stupid.
    The evidence is enough without making it up lol!

  4. 0
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    6 years of lies, out they go

    • 0
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      SFR….What a disgrace Morrison is when he can’t admit we are in a deficit.

      He made an absolute fool of himself on the 7.30 report with Leigh Sales. No wonder this Government wants to privatise the ABC.

      Murdoch can’t cover up for them here.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpHLu2jJTuc

    • 0
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      jackie- It’s a known fact that we are $4 billion in deficit, it was announced in the Budget speech by the Treasurer. – Why can’t people understand that the Budget is a prediction of a surplus for the 2019/2020?
      What’s so hard to understand? What are you and the likes of Leigh Sales harping on and agitating about?

    • 0
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      Arvo is right to say the 2019/20 budget is a predicted surplus however that does not fit with the narrative of “being back in the black” and “returned to surplus” as if these are current events that Morrison, Frydenberg and Birmingham repeat ad nauseam. This is what Leigh Sales and others are raising.

      If you think there is nothing in this the I urge you to ask your Lib candidate for the budget sensitivity analysis as there are already many doubts with respect to the assumptions underpinning the budget forecast. All is not what it seems if you look beneath the marketing gloss.

    • 0
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      Farside-“being back in the black” and “returned to surplus”— for 2019/2020 !!! —

      2017/2018 =$29.3 billion deficit Budget prediction
      2018/2019 =$14.5 billion deficit Budget prediction ending with a $4 billion deficit for the fiscal year.

      That is the narrative!

    • 0
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      Forward estimate guesswork.. pie in the sky… never happen…

    • Profile Photo
      0
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      We all know that we have lies, big lies and Labor promises.

  5. 0
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    Is it correct that since the Coalition has been in the pensions have increased the amount quoted per fortnight?

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      Probably true as pensions increase with inflation twice a year.
      These were normal machine rises not any special action by the LNP government.
      Neither Liberal nor Labor is offering any rise in pensions but at least Labor is going to review the very low Newstart allowance and increase it by whatever the review comes up with.

    • 0
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      Here’s the link to confirm the statement of the increase in pensions, mitch1945. The method if calculating the biannual increase was changed by the Coalition and has meant that Labor’s 6 years didn’t increase the pension as much as the Coalition’s 6 years.

      http://guides.dss.gov.au/guide-social-security-law/5/2/2/10

      Dave R, I note that Labor is going to “review” a number of items which is a whole lot different from a policy to act. Remember the conversation Shorten had with the worker in Townsville who was earning about $250k? He told him that the new tax schedule for “rich” people earning more than $180k would be looked at. O’Connor then stated that Shorten was just being polite. Is that the sort of “review” that Labor will carry out?

    • 0
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      Anyone earning $180,000 per year is truly in the rich category and should be paying an appropriate amount of tax.

    • 0
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      Anyone earning $180,000 per year is truly in the rich category and should be paying an appropriate amount of tax.

  6. 0
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    Promises, how we will improve living standards, increase real living wages, improve medicare with a dental component and raise the OAP and other vulnerable people allowance.
    None of which would ever happen under either party.
    I still remember No Carbon Tax, then There will be no changes to OAP.
    Broken Promises with no cost to Government, so how is a Major Cost Impost To Government going to be acted on once Elected.
    Which Devil do you chose (That is the only Printable word that comes to mind)
    We are at their Mercy and they know it well.
    SO SAD.

  7. 0
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    The LNP fooled me once. They stole my part pension. I’ll never trust anything they say again.

    • 0
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      Absolutely!

      I noticed that in their responses above, they could simply have responded, No, No, No, No and No!
      The only exception (achievement) could be that they increased the pharmaceuticals on the PBS. Not a lot of benefits for 6 years in power!

  8. 0
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    How can the LNP say they are giving more money to Hospitals, Medicare and Centrelink when they have taken heaps of money off them. It looks like they are copying Labor’s ideas about funding these 3 key areas. As for pensioners, LNP will never help them which is very obvious by the way we have been treated lately.

  9. 0
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    Turnbull promised to reinstate the pensionner Concession card to all those who lost it due to Hockeys changes, but that turned out to be a lie, he chopped it off after just one day. Numerous letter have been written to Mr Gee ( Calare) but all the seniors have received from him was insults, lies, and inuendo. Mr Gee and the Liberals have shown they have no regard for seniors and retirees, they couldnt care less about them. However, Shorten is 10 times worse and his Retiree Tax grab will devestate retirees, so much as I hate to admit it, I will have to vote for for the incompetent mr Gee ( Calare), just to keep Shorten and the greens out.

    • 0
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      Mike, Shorten only 10 times worse?? More like 50 times worse, especially the Franking credit! Watch for capitol gain tax on your home and the tax on super. Having done tax for 35 years, I agree negative gearing needs looked at, but only removed from second and more than one property. Neither party says that.

    • 0
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      Mike when you say Retiree Tax Grab do you mean abolishing Refund of Franking Credits for those In SMSF in tax free pension mode?

      This does not affect retirees who don’t have shares. It does not affect retirees who are pensioners, it does not affect retirees in Industry or Retail funds.

      Nothing changes for retirees who have a signficant share portfolio in their own name. Often elderly, the dividends are their main income but they must pay tax if over the threshhold. When they complete a tax return they have to Gross up and add in the Franking credit plus any bank interest. This Gross is taxed at marginal rates, and only then can the Franking credit be used as an offset to reduce tax. Their refund is typically 25% of those with SMSF.

      I think,eneough of us have been subsidising this largesse

    • 0
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      Mike you do what you have to do and then try to convince yourself you did the right thing. You acknowledge voting for incompetence so where is the sense in that?

    • 0
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      I like Ancal’s idea to only remove negative gearing on second and subsequent properties. This still enables first home buyers to rent somewhere cheaper while using tenants to help repay mortgage. It would be good to see this idea adopted.

      Cannot agree however with his statements on the franking credits, especially for someone who has done tax for 35 years and should better understand the principles of double taxation and its effect upon company capital management.

      Ancal is being disingenuous in relation to capital gains and super taxes as he is well aware that these will eventually be on the table and are already being modelled by think tanks and academics on both sides of politics.

    • 0
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      On Q&A Bill Shorten said no one on the pension will be effected by the changes in franking credits. Franking credits have been a gift that was put in place and is now no longer affordable, no other country does it so why continue? You should be happy that this money will be better spent on health and dental care for seniors. Why be so greedy?

    • 0
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      And, musicveg, never supposed to be permanent.
      The guy in the audience said his wife was okay with him losing $7,000 and he seemed pretty laid back about it too.
      Others on Facebook who are losing it have said something similar. Some understand.
      Bill also said he can understand people not liking losing it though.
      Maybe with so much notice given people should reorganise their finances?
      Same with negative gearing. Lots of notice as it does not come into effect until next year. Some people have probably been buying up this year.
      It is not on new properties either.
      Choices mean some win, some lose, but the losers should never be the poorest and sickest.

  10. 0
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    Well you know its spin when they claim to have improved Centrelink wait times. More staff supposedly but are they properly trained?

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