Increasing pension age to 70 will hurt older workers: AIST

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According to the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST), not enough thought has been given to the high levels of involuntary retirement when considering raising the Age Pension eligibility age to 70.

Research conducted by the Australian Centre for Financial Studies and the AIST found that up to 40 per cent of older Australians do not choose when they retire.

Those working in community and personal services, in clerical and administrative roles, sales workers and labourers are between 35 and 50 per cent more likely than professional workers to retire before the age of 60.

AIST Chief Executive Eva Scheerlinck said that it isn’t just people with health issues who are struggling to work until age 70.

“Many older Australians do not get to choose when they retire,” said Ms Scheerlinck.

“We know that while health plays a role, other factors such as age discrimination, job type and caring demands all have a significant impact on when a person retires from paid work.

“Ensuring long-term sustainability of the system is important but we need to make sure there are appropriate mechanisms in place to protect older Australians who are unable to work longer,” said Ms Scheerlinck.

She added that any increase in the eligibility age would also add to workers’ concerns about not having enough money in retirement.

“Any changes that affect access to the Age Pension need to be part of a broader community conversation on retirement objectives,” said Ms Scheerlinck.

“We do need to look at ways to keep Australians in the workforce longer but simply raising the pension age is not the answer.”

In 2015, Susan Ryan, then age discrimination commissioner, found that more than one in every four workers over 50 had faced age discrimination.

A report commissioned by financial company AMP and undertaken by Canberra University’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) found that people will simply be too sick to work by the time they reach qualifying age.

Opinion: There are still too many barriers to working up to 70

If the Government is ever going to get its legislation raising the pension eligibility age to 70 passed, it has to ensure that it is a feasible prospect. At the moment, that simply isn’t the case.

As we have previously discussed, there needs to be an alternative for those who are physically or mentally unable to work until they’re 70.

There also needs to be work done to break down the barriers and discrimination facing the over 50s when they apply for new jobs.

Currently, workers in the older age bracket are told that their skills are outdated and there is little value in training someone in their 50s.

This issue isn’t just about the Government’s bottom line it is a serious mental health and confidence issue.

There are more people over 50 on work-for-the-dole schemes than unemployed people below 22. Men aged between 45 and 65 who have lost employment are one of the largest growing groups of people with mental health issues.

However, changing the mindset of employers will not be easy.

The Government has already tried a scheme offering $10,000 for companies taking on older workers but fewer than 3000 people responded when it was hoped the number would be closer to 32,000.

Perhaps offering subsidies for reskilling and training over 50s would be one way to approach the problem. Possible programs could include education campaigns with business leaders who employ a mix of age ranges in their workplaces, and getting out and spreading the word about the benefits of having more experienced staff members.

What would you like to see done to address the age discrimination issue in Australia? Would bigger subsidies work? Should the Government abandon its plans to lift the eligibility age for the pension?

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109 Comments

Total Comments: 109
  1. 0
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    Labor actually proposed the 70 retirement age – and left it hanging – as with most things they did – no planning .

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      Neither has this government planned. Just announced this is what it wants to do. So who is worse, the party which wanted to have the discussion or the one which is hell bent on imposing it on retirees?

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      sirrom…You forget that it was Labor that introduced the Age and Invalid pensions, free education, Medicare and decent work rights for people. The Liberals have always tried to eradicate them. They have done an excellent job doing it.

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      jackie, it’s all well and good to cast aspersions but a bit of proof would be welcome to support your accusation that the Liberals are trying to eradicate age and invalid pensions, free education, Medicare and decent work rights for people.

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      Labor introduced the HECS scheme, knowing full well that they and all future governments would be able to increase the fees over time and they sure have! They privatised the Commonwealth Bank removing the only competitive alternative to the other four big banks. They upped the age of retirement, opening the door (as with HECS) to even more increases. They opened the floodgates for 50,000 Centrelink seeking boat arrivals, many of whom have never been thoroughly security assessed. They introduced the biggest financial trick ever perpetrated on the Australian people – Nick Sherry’s superannuation scheme – a minefield that requires ordinary people to fork out for the services of costly, greedy financial “advisors”. The vast majority of people coping with the physical restrictions/aches and pains from old age cannot find, or be reliably employed, until 68, let alone 70.

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      For the record, I’ve blasted Labor over that here and elsewhere for years now. It always was a stupid idea.

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      Old Man…Where have you been these last few decades? Would you please open your eyes. Here is a pdf for you to download and read. There are plenty of other resources to back yup my claim.
      http://www.aph.gov.au/binaries/library/pubs/bn/eco/chron_superannuation.pdf

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      Thank you jackie, your link fails to show that the Liberals are trying to eradicate age and invalid pensions, free education, Medicare and decent work rights for people. It does show that changes have been made to super and pensions but that doesn’t follow that the changes mean an eradication. Please feel free to give the links to the “plenty of other resources”of which you write.

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      Jackie 100% behind your comment…….. and unfortunately Old Man being a devoted Liberal man has no idea how tough its been for many hard working Aussies……Lets not forget that Medicare was brought in by Labor Party for all aussies (not just for the wealthy)
      Old man your entitle to ones opinion but I don’t agree with it.

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      Asking for proof doesn’t make him a Liberal supporter or apologist… but perhaps OM needs to consider that it is unlikely that such moves would offer substantial evidence towards proof, and would be well-diusguised and hidden within party ranks.

      You can only judge the pudding by the eating……. which is what many are doing when they see what is going on with those issues raised. Those complaining are the ones eating it – those creating the environment in which these socially upward measures will fail are not affected in the least.

      Which is more entitled to a voice?

    • 0
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      This is totally unfair to people without enough super to retire on.
      I’m 63 yrs. The past 9 years I can only get manual jobs. Currently recovering from Carpal Tunnel surgery in my left hand. I also have it in my right hand. I have a pencil line of cartilage left on my right knee and when that goes I need a knee replacement. My body is sick from working.

  2. 0
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    I am 60 and retired i.e. not working and not looking for work this means I am self funded. However if the Libs bring this in I will be straight down to the rock and roll office and register as able and willing to look for work. This means that I will probably be on the dole for ten years until I transfer to the pension. In the meantime my super, still held in accumulation phase will not be counted as an asset until age 70 thereby increasing in value. I can also withdraw lump sums from my super fund any time I like to supplement the dole. Sounds like Utopia to me, am really pleased I worked hard and scrimped and saved, paid off a house, helped kids in business and home purchasing, now I can kick back and enjoy life as it was meant to happen, Happy days

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      almost a grey hair…Please stop dreaming…the reality is you won’t get a cent. they will send you to a job network provider that will be on your back to find work by yourself whilst they get a nice salary for doing so.

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      True, and they put you on Newstart, which is really poverty. You can only get that too if you have practically no savings and no assets.

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      Rent an office and start a job provider business. That’s where the real taxpayer dollar is to be had. Cheap offices in most of the areas of huge population growth and few jobs.

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      Every generation lives longer so it makes sense to keep people working longer (if they are able).

      I could easily still be working and I am over 70! I am fit and healthy.

  3. 0
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    Same old same. Recycled story.
    The issues have not changed:

    1. many older workers are thrown on the scrapheap and never offered another real job.
    2. manual jobs where bodies are worn out after 50 result in workers UNABLE to work to 70.
    3. high stress jobs are not manageable forever either unless you want people to end up with mental issues.

    The whole argument of working to 70 fails on all but economic grounds and this is the reason why it keeps being pushed by our dreadful current government which simply does not want to pay pensions. Od course the fact that money which could be used to fund pensions is being sent to the top end of town by way of tax cuts is not up for discussion. It is what it is.

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      Yeah, MICK, same old story trying to get people to react again.

      First step to stop Age discrimination is to fix the problems created / allowed by Govt by throwing people out of work – forced redundancies (for CEOs to increase their bonus & profits, often hand-in-hand with Outsourcing), Outsourcing to low-wage countries such as India / Philippines, 457 visas (or it’s recently proposed substitute) preventing roles at all levels being available to locals, shutdown of most manufacturing (sent off to China).

      The whole idea of increasing Pension age to 70 absolutely stinks when people cannot have jobs, even if they are healthy & able. Besides that, how dare these politicians try to stuff everyone else, while they have nicely feathered their own nests for retirement See below:

      Link to see what current (new MPs since 2004) pollies get:
      http://www.aph.gov.au/about_parliament/parliamentary_departments/parliamentary_library/pubs/bn/1011/superannuationbenefits

      The current system allows them access to GREAT pensions at 55-60 years (latter age limit being phased in by 2025), with NO ASSETS or INCOME TESTS EITHER, after a mere 8 years service, and STARTING at $92,500 based on 50% of current salary of $185,000, and increasing with years of service) – FOR LIFE. Also, they can have additional pensions if they are Ministers, etc. No justification whatsoever for their special pensions!
      All of us have a duty to GET RID OF THESE LEECHES!

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      Yes George it is totally disgusting how they keep paying the pollies so much pension, should be the same for all no matter what job you have done or for how long and pensions for pollies should start at the same age as everyone else. $92,500 is a lot of money that is at least 4 years of pension payments to the average person.

  4. 0
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    It may have been Labour that proposed retirement age at 70 but it will be the Lib nazis that introduce it without thinking of the consequences. What difference does it make paying me the dole or the age pension at 65 or for me now 66.

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      On the money. Exactly…unless further attacks are planned to make retirees spend their family home.

    • 0
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      Yes – the (un)hidden agenda is to force people to de facto fund their own ‘retirement’ for at least five years, thus running down their assets and placing those into the market so as to stimulate it and profit its owners (sic).

      Like all such cunning moves, it is as transparent as glass.

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      The preservation age for eaccessing Super. will almost certainly be raised to the retirement age as well. What is left? as MICK so rightly pointed out “the family home”.

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      Save money out of super and there are no age rules at all.

    • 0
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      True, but you pay tax on any income derived and it also affects any social security rights under an assets and incomes test.

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      The difference is that the dole is less money and also creates more work for job providers.

  5. 0
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    I am in my 60s and still working because I can’t live off New Start Allowance. I have several medical conditions but our Government will not give me a Disability pension unless I can prove that I am literally dying. I am lucky to have survived so far considering I have known many people that died at much younger ages. One of them last week from a heart attack at 52. Our politicians are hypocrites because they can claim their hefty pensions that aren’t means tested but ordinary Australians have to wait for theirs till 70.

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      I understand that there are ober 1 million Australians on a Disability Pension. How come you missed out?
      Many of us see this pension as a rort but not having a medical problem (touch wood) maybe the glaring figures are correct. Unlikely.

    • 0
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      MICK…I am not the only one that has missed out…there are thousands of Australians that miss out each week. Many commit suicide because of the knockbacks. I am talking about Australians that were born here not the ones that weren’t. They don’t have the same problem.

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      Jackie the fact that you are capable of working (and indeed you are doing so) simply goes to prove that you are not eligible for the Disability pension however much you might think you deserve it. I find your comment that you are ‘still working because you can’t afford to live on New Start Allowance’ frankly disturbing.

      Yes it is sad people die young but that has gone on since time began and will continue into the future. That is LIFE.

      You have missed out on nothing! You simply don’t qualify because you are more than capable of working. I too am in my 60s and working full time. You are not the only one. There are millions of us!

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      DSP is not a simple handout or process, Mick – you must know that. There are many hurdles to jump through to get it, and viewing it as a rort is pure self-centredness and inability to see reality.

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      KSS… Whilst I am working paying my taxes to support our politicians, my health is deteriorating. That is because I am not supposed to be working according to the medical profession. There are people with missing legs, deaf, almost blind and can’t get a Disability pension. They are left to rot on the dole and accused of being bludgers. Thank god I have another 15 months to go before I qualify for the Age Pension. That’s if I make it.

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      @MICK. The net for the DSP has been caste wide and does not only cover physical disabilities but an array of “mental health issues”. The latter which I believe accounts for a substantial number of DSP recipients. ( Especially new arrivals) I think if there is any rorting then it is coming from this group.

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      I know a fellow who had multiple major physical disabilities and was certified ‘unfit to work’ by multiple doctors and specialists on account of a serious back injury, injuries in both shoulders, an injured hand from an old break that occurred during military service and was never fixed, an ankle injury, respiratory illness, gout, and severe frequent headaches accompanied by dizziness and partial blindness. At 64 years of age, having never done anything but labouring work and having no education or skills, he was denied disability benefits because ”he could be phased back into the workforce over a 2 year period with physio therapy, counselling and being forced to do voluntary work part time”. A social worker told him to resubmit his application listing psychological disabilities and it was immediately approved.

      A 55-year-old woman I know has been on disability for over 30 years with nothing at all wrong with her. Someone recently provided photos of her dancing and running in a marathon to Centrelink to evidence that her claims of being ‘crippled’ and needing a wheelchair were false. She claimed ‘mental incapacity’ and retained her benefits.

      On the other hand, I know of cancer patients who can’t get DSP.

      The system is completely broken – likely beyond repair!

    • 0
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      Rainey – I had no idea you knew me…… though not the labouring work or the hand …. nope – can’t be me…

  6. 0
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    I managed to work until I was 68 mainly because I was at a desk. Then my employer decided I was too old and insisted I retire. However they now say that sitting at a desk all day is the new ‘smoking’. So your doomed if you work manually or at a desk. Then you have to contend with employers who want to replace you with younger staff. Talk about a minefield.

    • 0
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      Ageism. Supposed to be illegal but it is rife.

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      It is the ‘ism that is most difficult to prove, that’s why MICK.

      No employer would ever admit that someone didn’t get a job interview, or didn’t the job, or were denied training, learning and development opportunities because they were considered too old. Ooh Nooo. You get told you are too experienced/not experienced enough, too qualified/not qualified enough, the training doesn’t apply to your role………

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      Desk workers, commercial drivers etc. are far less likely to be unemployable in older age than building tradesmen, concreters, etc. who are usually crippled by the time they are 50 when they either get a desk job (impossible) or drive a cab (dangerous) for 20 years?

  7. 0
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    Maybe the writer of this article should actually step out of the office and out of behind the computer and the stats. The truth is many workers are working in their 70s already. They work shared jobs, shorter days. What is needed is a raft of policies to ensure that the workforce can cope with older people officially working even into their 80s. Full time work may not be the answer but shorted days and so on needs to be considered. The trouble is we see older people as a burden and as useless. There is such an ageist attitude that permeates even this site and the articles. Ageing pople are rich resource, they are not a burden and the experience they take with them when they leave can never be replaced. Maybe the point of the article should be why isnt Australia willing to embrace older workers and support older workers as they make up a huge part of the working population and will only increase in numbers as the population ages. Its only the young that see them as a burden but youth and inexperience is also a burden to the workforce!

    • 0
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      Ted Wards…It’s about time oldies handed the jobs over to the young people. They have huge education debts before they start work and their houses will cost them billions in a casualised workforce. Oldies can do voluntary work if we are bored at home.

    • 0
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      Why jackie? Why should someone have to give their job in favour of someone younger? That is just perpetuating the ageism that already exists.

      Houses will cost them ‘billions’? Huh???

      Oldies can do voluntary work if bored at home??????? Why? If they want to keep working why push them into voluntary work ‘if they are bored at home’?

    • 0
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      Don’t understand your thinking Jackie.

      I would imagine that the majority of older people that are still working would gladly give up their jobs if they were financially
      secure obviously they are not.

    • 0
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      Spot on, Ted.

      KSS – no need for anyone to ‘give a job’ if there are sufficient jobs to go around.

      I, for one, am OK financially but would prefer to work if I can find a job that will suit my mounting disabilities. Considering driving a bus…. watch out, people… cranky old git at the wheel….

    • 0
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      KSS….Oldies can’t take it all with them. Yes, houses will cost billions…no thought 40 years back that city shacks would cost millions. At least when I was young there was stable work that provided security. That has all gone for the new generations..I remember there was a time when wealthy older people volunteered but now they never have enough money.

    • 0
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      The fact is there will be less and less jobs in the future as many processes become automated and we enter the age of the robot. So even the young will find it even more harder to find work. We are going through a new “industrial” revolution which the Politicians have little idea in planning for the dramatic challenges that we face. In Norway and I also believe in Switzerland everyone is paid a living wage working or not. Maybe Australia will go down this road.

    • 0
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      ‘Oldies’ are meant to use it to fund their retirement! If they did there would be no possibility of ‘taking it with them’!

    • 0
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      Meant to use their house to fund their retirement? Is that what is being mooted here?

      Well – welcome to geriatric tent city….

  8. 0
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    I retired just before my 70th birthday, and was glad to do so, as I worked in an intensive people-focused industry, and was probably on the verge of burnout, plus had had several health problems. However, how come the politicians don’t apply the same rule to their OWN pensions? I am disgusted at the huge pensions and entitlements that they reef from the taxpayer when they swan out the door of the parliament, at whatever age they choose (or are booted!), no matter how good, bad or mediocre they have been. Seems like a massive rort to me!

    • 0
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      disillusioned….No one cares that politicians can retire at 60. Australians are pulling them up about that.

    • 0
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      Jackie, Anyone with superannuation can retire at 60 and many do. The politicians pay into their own superannuation scheme (albeit a very generous one). It seems to me that you are unhappy about having to wait until retirement age before you get the age pension. There has to be a cut off date. However, I do think that 70 is too old and at this point in time it is just being talked about, not actually in place.

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      Anyone can retire at any age if they can support themselves. There is NO retirement age in Australia only the age at which you become eligible to apply for a pension.

    • 0
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      Sundays I have friends that retired in their 50s but politicians can retire at 60 plus get a huge taxpayer pension that is not means tested. That is disgusting.

    • 0
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      Jackie, I’m not sure what you mean. They get a superannuation pension to which they partly contributed their own money as well as paying taxes. The scheme is too generous but so are other public and private super schemes. You can’t compare it to the age pension. If there is any consolation the income from the politicians pension will exclude them from double dipping and also getting the OAP.

  9. 0
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    They just want people on the Dole until 70. That way politicians
    can save for their own pension at an early age.

    • 0
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      John from Perth…Governments receive more taxes than ever these days and claim to have less money than ever.

    • 0
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      And there are more people than ever who all want things from their government, more hospitals, more schools, more health care, more infrastructure, more pensions, more welfare………

    • 0
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      And more governments that want all things from their people… it’s a symbiotic relationship – something politicians etc have yet to learn.

      Council rates are applied for rise of 11% – followed by the consecutive years of a further 5% each…

      Wow – might get the road finished as long as the CEO gets his super etc.

    • 0
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      REBOR our useless council has lost millions. Yes the money is just missing and can’t be found.

      In fact any paperwork lodges seems to go missing almost immediately.

      If it was a private business it would be insolvent and not allowed to operate.

    • 0
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      Ours wants an 11% increase, then 5% next year on 111%, then a further 5% than a further 5%, meaning they’ll get close to 30% over four years. They reckon they’re broke, but how can they reconcile that increase with wages etc?

      I say lies, they’re just bloody inefficient.

      The ceo said ‘we can’t just keep going cap in hand to the State government for money, yet we all know how fat councils are and how overpaid their head honchos are these days.

      I used to know a farmer from Eugowra, and he once said of his farmer brother-in-law – ‘he’s got a gut on him like a Council horse’…

      We often travel The Lakes Way – getting worse by the day… the worst and most heavily traveled spots get no treatment at all, but the nice bits get an upgrade once every couple of years.

  10. 0
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    only a bunch of parasites who never did a hard days work in their lives would be advocating a retirement age of 70 for others….

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