The Budget day decision set to sting retirees

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Older Australians living off retirement investments have had an extraordinarily tough few years with interest rates continuing to be slashed but, believe it or not, there are some predicting that things are about to get worse.

While the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) official cash rate is currently at a historically low 0.25 per cent, Westpac chief economist Bill Evans believes it will be cut further when the board next meets.

The RBA is set to meet and decide on the cash rate on 6 October, the same day as the Federal Budget. And while the RBA traditionally waits to see what is announced in the Budget before moving the cash rate, Mr Evans believes they will cut rates to 0.10 per cent on the same day, ahead of that night’s announcements from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

“The RBA is expected to announce all these policy changes on 6 October, the day of the announcement of the Federal Budget, as a Team Australia initiative,” Mr Evans said in a statement to clients.

“The prospect of the RBA ‘sitting back’ to assess the Budget, which has been seen as the ‘norm’ in previous years, is not appropriate for these unique times.”

The RBA cutting the cash rate may be the right thing to do for the economy, but it certainly does not do retirees any favours.

Retirees living off the interest earned from investments and superannuation will feel the pinch most of all, as lower interest rates mean lower returns. This may force some to take bigger risks in order to live a more comfortable retirement, or even preserve their current standard of living.

As YourLifeChoices has previously reported, savings products have faced an enormous number of cuts in recent times.

As of August 2020, the average savings rate was cut from 1.15 per cent at the same time last year to 0.65 per cent. Aussie banks and financial institutions have made 1736 cuts across all savings products since 1 March 2020.

Term deposit holders were the biggest losers, with term deposit products copping a total of 844 cuts. Savings account rates were cut 635 times in the same time, and the remaining 257 cuts applied to bank accounts.

Mr Evans is also predicting that the cash rate will stay at 0.10 per cent for all of next year and potentially for much of 2022, with unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic being slow to recover.

The Westpac projections are based on a speech RBA deputy governor Guy Debelle gave to the Australian Industry Group on Tuesday.

In that speech, Mr Debelle said that the economy was not going to recover from the COVID-caused recession quickly.

“We are now in a gradual and uneven recovery,” he said.

“As the outlook for the Australian economy unfolds, the board will continue to assess the merits of the range of monetary options to best support the economic recovery.”

The RBA’s current forecast is that the unemployment rate will still be above 7 per cent by the end of 2022.

Do you worry about the lower cash rate? How will it affect your retirement? 

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Written by Ben

63 Comments

Total Comments: 63
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    If they want to get fair dinkum and help people with low interest rates then they should lower Credit Card interest.
    I know the banks won’t do this because this is their cash cow.
    But, I do have to ask why are all the economists ignoring this and have been ignoring the impact of lower Credit Card rates ?

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      The only thing government could do is to forcibly cap card rates and mandate certain provisions within card arrangements. I don’t see why the government doesn’t try that.

      Banks will never stop trying to maximise their profits of credit cards. However, people have several options:
      .Pay the full amount on time every month.
      .Pick a card with smaller interest rate.
      .Go without in bad times.
      .Go without in good times to build an emergency bucket to ensure the card always gets paid off.

    • 0
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      I like your thinking, Tom!

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      There are many credit cards out there with lower rates if you shop around.

      Interest rates are high on them as they are unsecured credit, mine have $40,000 worth of credit which is not secured in any way. Also fraud on credit cards is massive, people literally live off credit cards that have been stolen, overseas they can be easy to use and often use them until the expiry date.

      All that fraud and all the bad debts from people not paying back their balances has to be recovered somehow and interest rates is the major way.
      I NEVER pay interest on my cards and never pay fees either, use them constantly for everything I buy and pay the balance at the end of the month.

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      I agree, Tom.

      I got caught many years ago when we were broke and my Mum-in-law was very ill in Perth. We paid for air tickets from NNSW with a credit card. She died while we were there though the return flights were before the funeral, so we changed flights. I didn’t know how the interest would compound so quickly, and even after we paid it off, they still charged some interest onto the next month’s account, which continued to accumulate again unless paid off straight away. Don’t book anything up for a month because there’s no interest-free period until everything’s paid up-to-date.

      Since then, I’m like you Greg – I NEVER pay interest on my cards though I use them constantly for any items that don’t carry a credit surcharge (like Jetstar!). I do pay fees however, but only because I have a rare Rewards plan that pays for itself many times over.

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      I suspect credit cards are seen as a “lifestyle choice” and not a necessity to sustain life.

      No-one NEEDS a credit card, we CHOOSE to have them for various reasons. Those of us with at least one functioning brain cell enter into these credit card contracts with our eyes fully open in regard to interest rates, annual fees, and all the other onerous conditions that banks impose. However, none of that is to say that having entered into a contract that meets our needs, our circumstances won’t change. We all know that they can and will, ie, loss of job, ill-health, family emergencies etc, etc.

      One of the secrets is of course, as others have pointed out – know how to use those cards to YOUR advantage, ie pay the balance in full every month and avoid interest.

      I have two cards, AMEX and Woolworths Visa which earn me Qantas points. And yes, I pay quite large annual fees for that. However the fee on my Amex card is rebated back as a Qantas credit towards a flight. So I don’t lose there. Both cards have low credit limits well within my ability to manage. I pay the balance every month without fail and never pay interest. I never ever use the card to buy something I don’t need at an inflated price just to earn points. Every single transaction on those cards has to be to my advantage or it doesn’t happen. For example, Woolworths Visa gives me no points for Government transactions, ie car rego, council rates etc, so I pay them on my debit card. If they won’t reward me, they lose the transaction, simple as that. If they punish me, I punish them.

      Credit cards are often demonised, but you can make them work for you.

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      A good solution to credit cards – don’t have one. Live within your means and don’t rely on high interest credit cards – simple as.

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      I have a credit card which is automatically paid off each month. It costs me $95 a year and I haven’t had to pay for a flight anywhere for years if flying qantas. I only have two direct debits one for the credit card and the other for health insurance.

      If there are surcharges at all I use Bpay.

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      I love my credit card. It costs me $195 a year. I pay no interest at all because I pay the full balance on the due date every month. The payment happens automatically by direct debit from my bank account. Reward points more than cover the $195 fee. Most years, I end up with about $500 in reward points that I can use for Christmas shopping. I also get free insurance on everything I buy – meaning if it breaks or is lost within 90 days of purchase it is replaced free. I get free travel insurance. And all warranties on goods I buy on the card are doubled automatically. The only surcharges I incur are at Aldi and the reward points more than compensate.

      I don’t even know what interest rate applies to my credit card, because it’s not relevant given that I pay the full amount on the due date.

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    it’s pretty weird that even on a mortgage even with the lower interest rates I am still paying off the interest and making very little impact on the principle it just never seems to move much and yet even credit cards with their high interest can be paid down quickly . I wiped out $50,000 in debt in 4 years on Credit Cards yet that home loan has barely budged.

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      tobymyers, if you have been paying your mortgage monthly try changing to fortnightly payments instead. I would also be getting an independent person to look at why your principle is not moving as that doesn’t seem right.

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      Some people get their salary paid directly into their mortgage account and use redraw to pay their living expenses when needed. That works. Worth a look.

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      have a look at the mortgage agreement and see how interest is calculated. One of the quickest ways to affect your mortgage is to make more frequent payments as jaycee mentioned.

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      jaycee1, paying fortnightly or weekly makes little difference, in fact to do so would only save enough in a year to buy a couple of schooners. A book was written about this in the ’80’s and was a best seller and made people think that paying fortnightly or weekly saved $thousands when the truth was that it was asking people to pay more off their loan each year.

      The author made a simple error asking people to divide their instalment by 4 and pay weekly but what was overlooked was that there are 12 months in a year and 13 4-weekly periods in a year so, in effect, borrowers were asked to make 13 instalments and any reduction of principle will automatically reduce the term of a loan and therefore give a large saving.

      To show what is meant by all of this, if an instalment is $1,200pm, dividing by 4 gives $300pw. Multiply $1,200 by 12 that gives $14.400pa but if you multiply $300 by 52 the answer is $15,600pa or one more instalment of $1,200. The true weekly payment to equate to the monthly payment of $1,200 is $276.92.

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      tobymyers – Your mortgage is written over a long time frame, commonly 25/30 years, where as your credit card was paid off in 4 years.

      There’s no tricks to this, just pure maths. If you had a mortgage for $50,000 at 3% it might be written over a term of say 20 years so the payments for this would be $277 pm. The total paid back in that time would be $66,480.

      The credit card interest rate maybe 20%, a balance of $50,000 over 4 years means you paid (on average) $1,522 pm and a total of $73,056.

      Obviously the repayment per month is far higher and the total paid back over such a short term of 4 years is higher then the mortgage.

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      Horace Cope – You obviously have little understanding of how interest works on loans and whoever wrote the book has no understand either. Or you read it wrong.

      Paying a mortgage written over a long term like 20 to 30 years fortnightly compared to monthly WILL make a substantial difference to the term length and total amount of interest paid.

      Example: $500,000 at 3% and $2,400 pm will take 24 Years 7 Months Total payment $707,161
      $500,000 at 3% and $1,200 pf will take 21 Years 11 Months Total payment $682,016

      By simply paying HALF the monthly repayment every fortnight you save $25,145 and cut the term by near 2 Years 8 Months.

      Yes obviously you are paying one more “monthly” repayment per year but there’s more to it then that.

      Interest on a loan is calculated daily, everyday whatever the balance is at the end of the day the 3% (3%/365) is calculated on that balance, the more often you reduce the balance the less interest that is calculated on your loan. So even paying weekly can help, paying daily helps more but with both of those scenarios you don’t get the larger benefit of one extra monthly payment per year.

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      Tobymyers, have you got an interest-only mortgage? It sounds like it. Otherwise, the principle should be decreasing. I pay monthly, because I figure I get the 1, 2 or 3 days of the month for free (after 4 x 7 days = 28). If you have a large mortgage you’d be advised to pay more off earlier sooner than later. You will be rewarded hugely in the long run.

      However, I don’t pay any interest on my mortgage because I have an offset account (which has the same amount as is owing on my mortgage), so it lowers automatically as it pays the mortgage. I have deliberately not paid off my mortgage so:
      1) I don’t get charged for an early discharge,
      2) I can redraw over $50K which I’ve paid in advance, in case I have a medical emergency. I’m healthy so I don’t have private medical insurance and therefor save $3K a year there), &
      3) I won’t qualify for a new mortgage these days (hubby on OAP), and I’m planning to move at some stage.

    • 0
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      Paying weekly or fortnightly, instead of once a month, DOES WORK & it works well! I repaid my first home this way when the interest rates were high at 13.5% interest! While it was only on a loan of $35,000, way back in 1985, it’s still better to repay weekly or fortnightly rather than once a month! This is because you are charged interest on what is outstanding. The banks use the formula LI = P x R T/365, or Loan Interest = Principle X Interest rate X
      no of day’s between payments/365. Thus on a $50.000 loan at 13.5% interest, the monthly interest component is 35000 x .135 x31/365 = 401.31. I repaid $200 a week so after week 1 we have 49800 x .135 x 7/365 = 128.94. Initially before making a repayment, the interest would be 50000 x .135 x7/365 = 129.46, The difference is small, 52c, but it’s better off in your pocket than in the bank’s coffers! I repaid my loan within a decade, despite having a family & being the only income earner! If nothing else is remembered from this, remember the formula & use it to your advantage! If the minimum monthly repayment is, say $1000, then pay $250 a week! Try it & see for yourself!

  3. 0
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    Isn’t it amazing. The cuts in interest rates have done nothing historically to rectify the economic situation but they keep on keeping on. It’s like “we have a hammer and everything looks like a nail”. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    • 0
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      Absolutely agree with your comment.

    • 0
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      ‘”done nothing”

      You can’t say it’s done nothing – if rates were at 10% still would people be as keen to borrow compared to 3%?

      You can say the interest rate reductions haven’t had a larger enough effect on the economy and a lower rate maybe needed. There is very little that can be done to MAKE people get loans and spend money, all you can do is try.

    • 0
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      Agreed Allenmack. This Liberal government has been trying to make people borrow by forcing the RBA to lower rates, but no-one will borrow when they’re worried about the future.

      What would make people and businesses confident about the future? I suggest a price on carbon, so business could confidently invest in low-carbon options. Presently, they are worried about investing in stranded assets. This is why no banks or insurers will back up Adani and it’s rail-to-port infrastructure, because they KNOW coal has no long-term future. It doesn’t matter what the interest rate is if no-one is keen to borrow money.

      We want infrastructure for real, long-term jobs which will ultimately boost the economy and society. Investing in coal is dead money, just as paying rent is dead money.

    • 0
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      You can assist people to spend more by raising incomes rather than lowering interest rates.

      More money coming in means more confidence to borrow and spend.

      The money is ending up in tax havens and in assets like houses, businesses, shares , bonds and term deposits.

      If the fixed the CPI then pensions would increase and so would wages.

      Housing costs need to be added to the basket used to measure inflation.

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      Yes, I totally agree Rae. Pensioners will stimulate the economy, as will lower wage earners.

      Extra money in poorer hands stimulates the economy much more than extra money in richer hands. People on low incomes spend it all, while wealthy people invest in real estate, shares, superannuation, bonds, etc., which does nothing to stimulate small, local businesses, which are the real lifeblood of the economy.

      I call it “trickle up economics”. It actually works, unlike trickle down economics.

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    tobymyers, if you want to reduce your principle on your mortgage this is how you do it with your next mortgage payment add $1000 extra on this payment, then pay your regular mortgage 2 weeks in advance, this will reduce your principle. If you can afford it add a little more to your monthly payments. I did this and reduced my 25 years mortgage to completely pay off in 7 years.

  5. 0
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    So much depends upon how the government intend to restore the economics of the country following the pandemic. One point not to lose sight of is the extraordinary high level of debt accumulated over the last 7 years.
    Australia is actually in a very good position to reduce the debt by taking a measured approach to it. If the government opt for the classic right wing “Austerity” method then we are in trouble, as least those of us ordinary people are.
    This is what frightened me with the statements earlier indicating we would follow the Thatcher model. That will be disastrous for Australia.

    • 0
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      Yes Tanker, the Thatcher model would indeed be disastrous for Australia. Trickle-down economics has not only not worked, it has squeezed the low paid when there’s nothing left to squeeze out of them. This has helped to shrink the economy.

      It’s also produced stagnant wages for the lowest paid jobs, while corporate profits soared by 20%, shareholders have benefitted and CEO’s have received very generous bonuses. It’s morally corrupt in my view – those bonuses should have gone to the workers who created profit and wealth for the corporation.

      That all said, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Morrison regarding Jobkeeper payments and COVID payments to the unemployed, though stopping these payments too abruptly will have a devastating effect on those people and the recovery of the economy after COVID. University and childcare employees should have been included, and we’ll all pay for that down the track.

  6. 0
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    Deeming? Any cut in interest rates should be reflected in this punishment.

    No doubt our Thatcherite Treasurer will hand out a bit of cash, but there is not a lot to spend it on these days.

    Doesn’t buy my vote….

    • 0
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      I agree. They won’t alter deeming or credit card interest. Banks and government are hell bent on having everyone as wholly reliant on them as soon as possible. No thanks at all to years of liberalism ( you can thank ex banker Turnbull for bail in laws) aided and abetted by labor.
      They all know we want to keep industry within Australia and get rid of privatisation yet yesterday, in the face of people’s wishes, they are spruiking the ‘one day’ sell off of our broadband.
      They all sicken me with the rape of the Australian people.

    • 0
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      Agree, the deeming rate is always WAY too high and WAY too late.
      Agree with your other sentiments too.

    • 0
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      Deeming rates are very low compared with the effective deeming rate applied to asset-tested retirees, which is over 7.5%. Be thankful, Joyful56, Janus and Mootnell.

      Personally, I think all means tests should be abolished and retirement income taxes. Nobody should be punished for having saved, invested wisely, or working and earning in old age.

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      Agreed Mootnell.

    • 0
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      It was APRA that insisted on Bail In Legislation and both Labor and Liberal agreed. The smart money is flowing out of deposit accounts now and it is frightening both the RBA and the Government.

      I don’t understand why aged pensioners on limited income would be racking up credit card debt when saving up is cheaper.

  7. 0
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    I’m sick and tired of hearing Josh telling us the retirees are having it too good! Doesn’t the prick realize all who had investment savings and living off the pension or super, have had their regular income cut by up to 30% because of the pandemic. I believe the deeming rates have only been reduced by a fraction, certainly not 30%. This is to keep pension payments to the bare minimum.

    The ScoMo express is deliberately playing with figures so they look like they’re doing something for the economy. Well the results are damming! Wait till election time comes around. To all those goodie-good shoes how voted for the LNP, suck on the results after 7 odd years of LNP! The NP party only think of themselves and how they can get rich off the Koala’s back, so they are a dead loss as a party, and only inflate the Lib’s ego to stay in power. What a mess, Please explain?

    • 0
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      Not one mention of the Covid-19 in your post. Says it all about your politics.
      Give my regards to the Falcons.

    • 0
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      Agree with you. The economy was stuffed before COVID and while yes it has most certainly had a huge impact, the LNP had run the economy into the ground prior to it.
      And yes, Tom, my politics are for all to see too.

    • 0
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      But the problem we face is that Labor would do worse. They always do. They didn’t get elected because they put forward policies that were going to be hideously harmful and when they were warned about the harm, they arrogantly told us not to vote for them. So we didn’t!

      Both parties are pursuing the same goals. The biggest difference between them is that Labor is much better at deception. The LNP is more transparent – transparently evil!

      Of course the LNP has looked after self-funded retirees in fine style – generously allowing them to cut their drawings from super in half and live on fresh air! Not one ounce of assistance. Just ‘don’t spend as much of your own money’.

    • 0
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      Ok to have a rant but what exactly does this have to do with the article that is about the RBA and cash rates NOT the Government?

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      KSS this Liberal Government have been pressuring the RBA for years now, hoping they can get some fiscal outcome (thinking low rates will encourage people to borrow and invest). But we can see for ourselves this hasn’t worked because people are always cautious when they don’t trust the government and/or the banks. You can’t get blood out of a stone, especially when workers have been suffering stagnant wages for some considerable time now.

      The Libs believe that recovery should be led by business (that’s why they planned huge corporate tax cuts). COVID has turned that notion on its head and now the government has been forced to stimulate the economy with handouts, something they screamed blue murder about when Labor did it for the GFC. Turnbull even tried to talk down our economy and spook the share market, by insisting this was the path to hell and beyond. And Turnbull was a liberal Liberal!

      I think Trump has totally shuffled our previous ideas of left and right politics/economic thinking – it certainly doesn’t serve people, voters or economies any more. I’m hoping we get a swathe of Independents voted in at all levels of government in the future so we can start having decent debates about issues, argued on their merits rather than Liberal or Labor dogma (where big business overtrumps all anyway, regardless of who is in power). We need to ban corporate donations – they stink up everything! Our country, environment and the whole world are becoming desperate for a change like this.

    • 0
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      not so sure it is a case of the Government pressuring the RBA, at least for the past year. The RBA has not been silent toward the Government over its failing to manage a stagnating economy.

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      The current rate is .25% because consecutive LNP Treasurers want business to invest in the economy, instead of the government investing. They believe in small government and cutting taxes, something that cannot continue indefinely but will win elections every time. Now there’s so little room to lower the rate, (and it will have little effect if at all, if the last few years is any indication) that the government has to start using other fiscal signals to stimulate the economy. Again, I suggest a price on carbon so investment goes into a real economy, not one propped up by fossil fuel industry donations and us all having to pay for stranded assets.

      I have no doubt the economy will bounce back as soon as COVID has run its course, and much faster than economy-led recessions of the past. But will wages increase? Or will it be back to business as usual with continual growth, large corporate profits, dividends and CEO bonuses, while wage-earners flounder. If we want younger people to fuel our economy and retirements in the future, we’re going to have to start addressing that…and fast.

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      My deeming rate was cut from 43% to 10% which is a 33% cut. There is no point having non concessional amounts in super when this can be done to deny part pensions and concession cards.

  8. 0
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    Again, we have a heading that is misleading. There is an inference that, somehow, it’s the government’s decision in the release of the budget that will affect retirees when the story is actually about what one economist thinks the Reserve Bank will do on the same day. Other economists also think that the interest rates will remain untouched so this is a nothing story.

  9. 0
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    The fact is what the government spends on pensions is less than what we spend on defense and that is around 9.6% of budget which is down on 2009 figures

  10. 0
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    Look, at the end of the day who comes first in this once mighty country…Do you look after your bosses or pensioners!. ScoMo and Co have found $17.5 million to help FOXTEL!!!
    But we need to freeze Pensions!!! Say no more!!

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      Pensions are NOT frozen, wogaroo. Get your facts straight. They didn’t rise this time because the CPI didn’t rise. I think that’s unfair, because the cost of living for retirees certainly rose, but the pension was NOT frozen and will rise in line with CPI increases in the future just as it always has. Be thankful that it didn’t fall in line with the CPI this time around!

    • 0
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      The $17.5 million to Foxtel was so they’d be more inclusive for things like women’s sport. But do you think people are going to pay a subscription for sport that needs subsiding? It’s a bad joke and Rupert’s laughing all the way to the bank. Why? because he’s going to charge the public (tax-payers) to subscribe, when us tax-payers have already given him $17.5 million!!! It’s just a government handout to a rich mate. Disgusting!

      The ABC and SBS should be given money to promote sports that can’t yet cut a deal with commercial broadcasters.

    • 0
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      Hoohoo, the WNBL (Australia’s elite women’s basketball competition) used to be on the ABC – JUST 1 GAME PER WEEK on a Saturday afternoon @ 3pm. It is still on, but on Foxtel – JUST 1 GAME PER WEEK. That’s how highly many think of women in sport.

      Yet, the NBL is on Foxtel with ALL GAMES BROADCAST!

      On the flip side, the Suncorp Super Netball League (SSNL) (Australia’s elite netball competition) is broadcast on the Nine network. 2 games on Saturday and 1 game on Sunday. The remaining game is on Telstra TV. Even in the pandemic, there was extra rounds played mid-week, and they were also broadcast on Telstra TV.

      What a disparity!

    • 0
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      SuziJ, I am very aware of the sports coverage you’ve mentioned above, as my business (over 25 years) relies on women’s sports (and some men’s), mainly netball, both across Australia and internationally.

      I’m not quite sure what your point is. My point is that until people see how good and entertaining women’s sport is, and what skilled and amazing athletes they are, (via free-to-air coverage), they’re never going to pay for it on Foxtel. Like I said above, that $17.5 million is just a government handout to a rich mate. Disgusting!

      In NZ, both the Rugby and the Netball are only available on Foxtel, because all the athletes are national heroes and everyone who’s interested in sport already has a Foxtel subscription. It’s different in Australia where even when we’re the World Champions, most male sports fans couldn’t even name someone in the Diamonds’ Squad. Women’s sport deserves to be sponsored by the government and promoted on free-to-air, not pay TV.

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