Government minister walks back talk of pension reprieve

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Federal finance minister Mathias Cormann appears to have started the process of walking back Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s talk about providing extra assistance to pensioners in the wake of there being no pension increase in September.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Department of Social Services confirmed that there would be no indexed Age Pension increase until March 2021 at the earliest.

The next morning Mr Morrison told journalists that he would work with treasurer Josh Frydenberg on a response to the pension freeze, offering a potential reprieve.

Appearing on ABC News Breakfast on Friday morning, Mr Cormann attempted to walk back any commitment to extra assistance and suggested that pensioners were still in a better position despite the pension freeze.

Mr Cormann said that any additional government support for pensioners was “going to be a matter to be determined in the context of the budget”.

With the federal budget in the red by $85.8 billion in 201920 and a forecast deficit of $184.5 billion in 202021 (the biggest deficit since World War II), this is not good news for pensioners.

“Well, the cost of living has gone backwards but, of course, the pension will not go backwards,” Mr Cormann said.

“Indexation arrangements are there to take account of the rising costs of living. Self-evidently, if the cost of living goes backwards yet the pension remains the same, then that is an improvement in the relative position.”

While inflation was negative for the last quarter, falling 0.3 per cent, there are problems equating the rate of inflation directly with the cost of living.

Breaking down exactly how inflation figures relate to the cost of living for retirees is one of the key reasons YourLifeChoices works with The Australia Institute to publish the quarterly Retirement Affordability Index (RAI).

As YourLifeChoices reported on Friday morning, Australian Bureau of Statistics chief economist Bruce Hockman said that a 95 per cent drop in the cost of childcare during the June quarter (due to the pandemic), a big fall in the price of petrol and a drop in the price of preschool and primary education were to blame for the consumer price index (CPI) fall.

“Excluding these three components, the CPI would have risen 0.1 per cent in the June quarter,” he said.

What do you think? Are pensioners better off despite the pension freeze? How much money have you saved on childcare and primary and preschool education? Should Mr Cormann have a better grasp of these figures, given that he is finance minister? Do pensioners deserve extra assistance, given the fact that there will be no pension increase in September?

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Written by Ben

73 Comments

Total Comments: 73
  1. 1
    0

    Well Cormann will be better off by at least $11000 a year. What would someone like him know about living within a budget anyway. Remember him celebrating with Hockey with fine champagne and cigars the night they betrayed self funded retirees.

    I knew then aged pensioners would be in their sights for austerity.

    It’s their belief.

    • 1
      0

      Rae, the total people impacted adversely by Fat Joe and Harvey Corman was, 372,000 part pensioners lost up to 25% of their pension and 93,000 part pensioners lost their complete entitlement.

      You notice I called it entitlement whereas the Liberals call it welfare. Give everyone over the age of 65 a pension and tax any income over the pension level, get rid of the public servents
      who administer the most unwieldy and discrimatory system in the world, get rid of the pension system for politicans (bring it in line with everyone else’s).

    • 0
      0

      Agree with both of you – 100%. Especially pension system for politicians (bring it in line with everyone else’s). They also have the nerve to claim nearly $200- per day meal allowance whilst nursing home daily food allowance is about $6-

    • 0
      1

      well in Cormann case he came to Australia in mid 1990s with less than $150 to his name and he worked hard to get to where he is today -arguably the best finance minister post WW2

    • 1
      0

      Maybe, Discon, but clearly has no idea what it’s like to live on a small income. And no empathy. It’s easy to balance a budget when you can simply deny someone a fair income to cut costs, and not have to make any sacrifices yourself.

    • 0
      0

      Everyone goes for the old politicians pension argument…..it is a defined benefit superannuation, not a welfare pension. And yes it is welfare not an entitlement. All government employees and many private employees have had their wages frozen as well…many have lost their job altogether.

  2. 0
    0

    I would like to see Corman and Morrison living on the pension. A week would be enough to have them “wailing and gnashing their teeth”. Oh well, I can have my dreams………

  3. 0
    0

    Please explain – “pensioners were still in a better position despite the pension freeze”.
    In a BETTER position? My god, these people really do live in a glassed bubble! Every time I turn around, something else has gone up. Luckily – I don’t eat meat (I leave that luxury for my little dog), but beans the other day were $16 a kilo! Even my dog’s annual vaccinations have increased 22%. And don’t get me started on rates, insurances, rego…
    I will just have to hypnotise myself and tell myself I am being unreasonable….

  4. 1
    0

    Now I have heard everything from this GOVT quote “
    Self-evidently, if the cost of living goes backwards yet the pension remains the same, then that is an improvement in the relative position.”

    Do they really think we are stupid…. of course they do you nutters keep voting them in

  5. 0
    0

    Bring on the Guillotines. Vive la revolution !!

  6. 0
    0

    I forgot to add, I’m fed up with eating cake.

  7. 0
    0

    Let’s see this Cormann piece for want it is…a continuation of MR Badguy doing the dirty work for Scomo etc and preparing to slink off to retirement, probably to a really cushy jobs-for-mates here or abroad. Let’s keep watch.

  8. 0
    0

    We’ve talked about this over and over again for years.

    Nothing has changed. Why it is so?

    I guess commenting repeatedly on these things keeps you at your computer and off the streets. Maybe method in the government’s madness.

  9. 0
    0

    If You get a pension you are very lucky as nobody else has any

  10. 0
    0

    The cost of my electricity has just gone up. What happened to Scomo bringing down the cost of electricity?

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