Government move to strip pensions

The government has put forward a bill which, if passed, would see the pension supplement stripped from people travelling overseas for more than six weeks.

If passed, the new rule would save the government $154.4 million over the forward estimates.

Single pensioners stand to lose at least $37 a fortnight or up to $68.90. Couples could lose between $55.80 or $103.80 combined.

As the current rule stands, the supplement is still paid for the first six weeks of a temporary absence overseas. After six weeks, it is reduced to a basic rate.

However, if this rule is made legislation, the basic rate will also stop after six weeks, or immediately upon permanent departure from Australia.

The government justifies the move by claiming that the basic supplement rate is equivalent to the GST component not needed when travelling overseas.

However, peak bodies say the GST issue is not enough to warrant cutting the supplement from travelling pensioners, as phone companies and utility providers still charge for services while people are overseas.

“We are a nation of migrants and many people want to go and visit family and friends overseas before they pass away,” said the spokesperson for the Alliance for a Fairer Retirement System, Ian Henschke.

“To cut people off (the supplement) completely just doesn’t pass the pub test for fairness.”

What do you think of this move to strip retirees of pension supplements?

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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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