An increase to Newstart payments high on new Senator's to-do list.
The new South Australian Senator, independent Tim Storer, claims an increase to Newstart will be his key objective during his time in the Senate. But what about the Age Pension, too?
“For me, it is a priority that I would like to take forward,” Mr Storer told The Guardian.
“I’ve got 500 days from when I was declared as a Senator to the end of the period. There will be an election in that of course, but yes, (boosting Newstart) is an issue I wish to take forward.”
The Senator has some sway, too. He’s already helped to force the Coalition to suspend its plans to cut the corporate tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent, after refusing to sign on until the Coalition considers broader tax and policy reforms.
Mr Storer suggests that, even considering the extra payments offered by the Government, most Newstart recipients fall around “$96 dollars short of the absolute minimum required to cover the basic cost of living”.
With an economics background, an MBA from the Australian National University and a philosophy of “prosperity and fairness”, it may be reasonable to assume that he knows how his key objective can be achieved.
And this will come as great news for young and old alike – especially for Newstart recipients over 55 struggling to find employment or who have issues that prevent them from being employed.
But why has he not also turned his attention to those doing it tough on the Age Pension?
The YourLifeChoices Retirement Affordability Index™ 2017-18 revealed that, of the 5561 surveyed, 12.4 per cent always run out of money before their next Age Pension payment, 25 per cent occasionally run out and another 16 per cent run out, but rarely. More than 24 per cent find it difficult just to fund everyday expenses, and 76.5 per cent feel that their cost of living is rising faster than the official inflation rate.
And in the YourLifeChoices Insights Survey 2018, 70 per cent of the 6694 respondents say they will or do fund their retirement with a full or part Age Pension. And with 75 per cent of retirees already feeling as if the Government doesn’t do enough to support them, it may be a wise political move to start looking after their interests, too.
Senator Derryn Hinch gets it: He also refused to support the Government’s company tax cuts unless there were concessions for pensioners and measures to address housing affordability.
He’s using this leverage to get a better deal for pensioners who are “doing it tough” and trying to “put a roof over their heads”.
A spokesperson for Mr Hinch’s Justice Party told YourLifeChoices’ Olga Galacho that “Senator Hinch voted against the tax and has always fought for the rights of pensioners’’.
Do you think the Age Pension is enough to live on? Should the Age Pension be considered for a substantial raise in line with Newstart? In your opinion, what are the main differing expenses for Newstart and Age Pension recipients? How much better would your quality of life be with an extra $96 per fortnight.