Billions of dollars in welfare going to ‘wealthy’ retirees, report finds

$6.3 billion a year in Age Pension payments go to about 255,000 pensioners who own million-dollar homes: report.

Heat on ‘wealthy’ pensioners

As YourLifeChoices prepares a survey and submission for the federal government’s retirement income review, debate about including the family home in the assets test for the Age Pension continues to swirl.

An Australian National University (ANU) analysis has calculated that about $6.3 billion a year in Age Pension payments go to more than 255,000 pensioners who own homes valued at more than $1 million.

It also found that nearly 30,000 pensioners own homes worth more than $2 million.

However, there is widespread resistance to including the family home in the assets test, with the majority of YourLifeChoices members clearly opposed to the concept. And Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has stated the family home would not be included in the assets test for the Age Pension. Yet concerns continue to build.

The Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA) says the government should review its generous tax concessions for retirees with big super balances – estimated at more than $36 billion a year – rather than eye the family home.

CPSA policy manager Paul Versteege says the family home should not be included in the assets test because “the vast majority of people live in modest houses”.

He told The Australian that including the home in the assets test was a red herring, as homeowners were generally unable to liquidate more than 25 per cent of the equity they had in their house. He added that greater government savings were possible by examining tax concessions for wealthy Australians.

 


“Our position is that the cost of the Age Pension is not onerous to the government at the moment,” Mr Versteege said. “There are other areas in the tax and transfer system where efficiencies can be made.

“The government could address family trusts, for example, or look at tax concessions in the superannuation system. Putting $1.6 million in superannuation tax-free is quite a lot of money.

“There are quite a lot of areas where wealthier Australian are still being subsidised.”

Michael Rice, chief executive of actuarial firm Rice Warner and Australia’s top retirement income expert, urges that the government should review the assets test thresholds for homeowners to encourage retirees to unlock the equity in their homes.

He says the political fallout from such a move could be cushioned by increasing the assets test threshold to $1.6 million for homeowners and non-homeowners.

“A married couple of 67 living a normal life expectancy receive a benefit on the Age Pension of $800,000,” Mr Rice said. “If you have someone who’s living in a $3 million home, and you give them $800,000, is that a good use of taxpayer money?”

Most of those people live in up-market pockets of Sydney and Melbourne, and likely bought their home decades ago, well before the real estate markets of our two largest capital cities took off.

ANU associate professor Ben Phillips says the proportion of pensioners living in “pricey” homes has become increasingly noticeable, especially in Melbourne and Sydney.

“The median Sydney house price is around $1 million,” he said. “Pensioners who bought in well-located areas many decades ago now find themselves in houses worth a million or more.”

Mr Phillips told news.com.au that there was the potential to “tap” that wealth, through such products as reverse mortgages and the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS).

Former senator for the Liberal Democrats David Leyonhjelm said the ANU analysis was an “excellent expose of middle class welfare”.

“Pensions should be exclusively for those who cannot pay for themselves, not to underwrite inheritance,” he wrote.

Former executive director of The Australia Institute, Richard Denniss, says there is nothing equitable about our retirement income system.

“Single, older women who don’t own their own house are among the poorest people in Australia,” he said, “while we give billions of dollars to those living in multimillion-dollar homes – not just via the Age Pension, but also through superannuation tax concessions and, of course, franking credit refunds.

“There’s clearly no appetite to make our retirement income system fairer, but there does seem an appetite to make it less generous for the poorest people in the country.

“A fair system would look at all sources of wealth and income and all sources of government support, and provide the most support to the people in greatest need.

“Unfortunately in Australia we provide far more support to some of the wealthiest retirees than we’ve ever given the poorest.”

Are you concerned about ongoing debate around including the family home in the age pension assets test?

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COMMENTS

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Chris B T
6th Nov 2019
9:31am
If there so concern about OAP Recipients and there Assets.
Easier To Go After Wage Theft the likes of Woolworths with $300 million That would Equate to $70 million Loss of Tax Revenue. This is Just 1 of Many.
Should Be Rigorous in there Recovery As the Ro Bo Debt are with Centerlink.
Penalties/Fines at the same Rate.
The need to make sure Corporate's are Paying there workers correctly, leads to better Tax revenue. Than there is Corporate's Correct Tax Receipts as well.
No we go after soft Targets Like OAP's.
{;-(@)
Top Wombat
6th Nov 2019
10:03am
Exactly, well said Chris.
libsareliars
6th Nov 2019
1:38pm
Agree entirely Chris.
GeorgeM
7th Nov 2019
12:21pm
Quite right, Chris, same old rubbish being repeated by jealous right-wing extremists time and time again without getting the overall perspective right. Also, Frydenberg has already ruled out looking at the home (it's not just a house) as part of the Retirement Incomes Review, so this kind of repeat articles by the media are merely giving air-time to these nasty extremists. Homes are paid for by AFTER-TAX money, and maintained by AFTER-TAX money, and all these extremists need to butt out.

Instead, means testing should be completely scrapped for Age Pensions, and it should be Universal Age Pension for all (after deleting any defined benefit pensions paid out of taxpayers money e.g. to pre-2004 Federal MPs), based only on Age (65 yrs) and Residency (say 15 yrs), with no more Centrelink admin, as ATO can issue out these payments.

Also, I agree with the CPSA comments above including “Our position is that the cost of the Age Pension is not onerous to the government at the moment,” Mr Versteege said. “There are other areas in the tax and transfer system where efficiencies can be made."
For example, stop Tax Evasion by the Rich and the Large Companies by implementing Minimum Taxes after allowing only Local, Verifiable expenses, not Overseas expenses, Interest, etc. Also, scrap special Tax Treatment of Family Trusts, scrap Negative Gearing after one house, cut back severely tax benefits for the Rich from Superannuation (massive scope), etc, etc.
So many areas with massive scope for increasing Revenues - all can lead to INCREASED UNIVERSAL AGE PENSION for all. The disgusting politicians need to start working for the people of this country.
Top Wombat
6th Nov 2019
10:02am
The LNP softening up folks to include the family home in the means test. They are all on parliamentary pensions and supported by the corporate sector so they don't care if you are forced to sell your home. Make no mistake, the LNP is coming after your pension.
Moo
6th Nov 2019
12:13pm
No way. Median house price in Sydney is over $900k, and a couple of years ago it was over a million. Any party proposing to exclude the majority of Sydney / Melbourne home owners from the OAP ain't going to win an election.
Lando
6th Nov 2019
10:24am
Maybe, just maybe, the govt could take a look at the tens of millions being paid out as franking credits, the ultimate gift.
VeryCaringBigBear
6th Nov 2019
10:42am
Franking credits are a withholding tax the same as PAYE and PAYG so what you are saying is to not allow any refunds of tax overpaid. They are certainly not a gift buy your money with held to pay tax. You need to do some more research instead of making a fool of yourself due to lack of your knowledge.
Batara
6th Nov 2019
10:50am
Not just maybe. The franking credits mistake should be corrected immediately. Possibly allow those who have been conned into joining the rort by "Financial Advisors" to keep the benefit, if they are not filthy rich. But no newcomers permitted to get their snout in the trough.
VeryCaringBigBear
6th Nov 2019
10:54am
Problem with not refunding franking credits is that it does not affect the wealthy but does hurt badly those with just enough assets not to get the pension. One can earn $100,000 and pay no tax but earn $20,000 and lose 30% in tax. I don't think that is fair but obviously you do.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
10:55am
Yes, yes - so as long as you do your tax correctly, you should still receive a return... so the issue is how some with huge incomes get to pay little to no tax, and a step forward would be to abolish dividend franking entirely.

It isNOT tax paid by the company for the company - the company pays its own taxes - it is tax paid in advance for the shareholder, and is part of shareholder total income.
VeryCaringBigBear
6th Nov 2019
11:01am
The problem is the no tax on super pension after 60 which only benefits the very wealthy. The franking system is a very just system in itself but it's the underlying tax system that allow the wealthy to earn big dollars and pay no tax.
Tanker
6th Nov 2019
11:05am
Exactly Trebor. VCBB is simply exposing self interest in this. There is way too much middle and upper class welfare in the country, thank you John Howard and Peter Costello, which continues on as the LNP keep pursuing an economic strategy driven by their political considerations rather than the good of the country.
Tanker
6th Nov 2019
11:05am
Exactly Trebor. VCBB is simply exposing self interest in this. There is way too much middle and upper class welfare in the country, thank you John Howard and Peter Costello, which continues on as the LNP keep pursuing an economic strategy driven by their political considerations rather than the good of the country.
VeryCaringBigBear
6th Nov 2019
11:08am
As I am on a full OAP then I keep my franking credits so I have no self interest at all in this.
fred
6th Nov 2019
9:42pm
lando and TREBOR when are you going to accept that the franking credit issue is done and dusted .Its pathetic the way you keep bashing the self funded retirees who are entitled to exempt income from taxation in their retirement , just as millions of OAP are receiving billions of tax free pensions all paid by other taxpayers . All socialist envy over and over each issue of Lifes Choices give us a break and get a life . Why didnt you save more like the self funded have
TREBOR
7th Nov 2019
12:54am
Easy then, fred - abolish franked credits and work out your own tax without the company paying some in advance for you....

No arguments or problems then ...
Alan
6th Nov 2019
10:28am
I do not receive one dollar in age pension. I could receive an age pension if I upsized my home and paid for the upsizing through a draw down of other investments. I find such an attitude to be ethically unsatisfactory.

I strongly support including all assets in the means test for the aged pension and then having a reasonable cap on the assets test which means that those living in "modest" houses still receive a pension but people who expect that the government pays them a pension so that their children can have a more substantial inheritance get nothing.

It is time that we realised and accepted that pensions should be for those who do not have the capacity to look after themselves.
Mariner
6th Nov 2019
10:53am
We could leave the old folks in their expensive houses and give them the pension - and then apply an inheritance tax of say 30% on all assets over, say, $800'000 before the children get the proceeds of the family home. It would not create worries for the oldies and the heirs could well afford to get a bit less. Obviously something have to happen will all this accumulated property wealth.
If a ceiling is applied like $1.2 mil for a property some oldies would be forced out and they might have to leave their suburb which is not ideal, so an inheritance Tax (death duty is was called in the old days) would certainly be kinder.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
10:57am
Good-o - I'll accept all past payments on mortgage and maintenance and upgrades etc (indexed) as offset to your 30%.

Unless a home is treated as an asset during its accumulation phase, it cannot be treated as an asset in its retirement phase...

**dusts off hands** NEXT!!
Mariner
6th Nov 2019
11:18am
Agree with you TREBOR. We also bought the place in the 70s, the price was equivalent of 4 years pay. In those days the dollar was as big as a wagon wheel. If you add up all the charges like interest on the loan, rates, MMBW charges and repairs over the years it could possibly amount to that 30%. Govt however won't see it that way.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
12:18pm
Indeed, Mariner - if you repay a mortgage over 20 years, roughly double the capital investment... that alone is a hefty sum... and in twenty years a house requires a lot of upkeep, rates, maintenance, repairs and upgrades.

Retired to the seachange (finally) and still doing renos and upgrades.... ah - the joys of retirement....

Abolish the assets test, pay everyone a pension - straighten out the tax rules, organise a single super fund under one roof, with the same rules for all, tighten up the current laissez-faire business tax rules and deductions that allow people to run their affairs as a 'family company' or a 'trust' etc and pay no tax while enjoying the best fruits (courtesy of Lothario for those who remember that LNP schill - probably Labor since he betrays the rorts currently in play)... and get back on the rails - too much fandango.
Golfer
6th Nov 2019
10:34am
Top wombat, what a load of rubbish. No wonder the left can’t win an election with scare tactics like you and Lando continue to believe.
Top Wombat
6th Nov 2019
10:38am
We'll see who is right. That's correct, not right, right? Off you go to play golf now.
Misty
6th Nov 2019
1:20pm
What rubbish Golfer, who was the master of scare tactics in the last election?, the LNP with their Death Tax accusation against Labor, their scare tactics about Labor coming after your Utes, these are juust 2 to name a few. Chris Kenny speaking on Sky News about the family home and assets test with Paul Veerstege right now about this topic, family home super etc. No govt will make any changes, political suicide if gythye di was their conclusion.
Misty
6th Nov 2019
4:15pm
Sorry about the spelling, I was in a hurry and didn't check.
Paddington
6th Nov 2019
10:35am
I have noticed the huge disparity amongst pensioners. Not all pensioners are poor. Some can afford to buy a new car, others barely make it from pension day to pension day so there is definitely something wrong. One case close to us is a couple where the wife got the pension in her fifties for 13 years when her husband was older than her. They have afforded a caravan, a car each, and a need to spend down regularly to keep their pension.
On the other hand, we know two couples who do not own their own home and struggle to manage. It is worse when it is a single pensioner who does not own their home and has no emergency funds. Some are also without a car.
People fighting about shares and how much they have and they may lose a dollar of it makes me sad when there are homeless oldies or those not able to buy food or medicines.
What to do about it? Leave the pension for those who have nothing and give more when they have no funds. Layer the pension in other words. Spend down to an emergency fund before getting anything.
The home? That is harder because it could be a falling down wreck overlooking Sydney Harbour. That is just an example not a reality. How to place value on the home? If you live away from a major city it has less value for a start. What is the magic number? One million, two million, three million? Someone’s age is also a component. A 90 year old living in a $3m home should be left to die in their own home. I think it is too hard. If you cunningly buy a $4m home when you are 60 getting ready for retirement could be a different thing. I am guessing no politicians will go near the family home even if it was not where the children were raised. It is where they return for holidays or when they fall on hard times like divorce or sickness.
Back to the neediest pensioners, help those first!
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
11:00am
Again, Paddo - like all those who mutter darkly about pensioners spending their whole pension at the club or on cruises and then going to Salvos for food etc - you have no way of knowing what those people get and from where.

With all due respect - unless you are reading their mail and raiding their financial records etc - you simply cannot know anything for certain.

I, too, often scratch my head wondering where these little old ladies get the money to play pokies at $5 a hit... but they could have a heap from any source... I don;t know their situation, only what they do - and I have no right to assume on the basis of that what their overall situation is.
Paddington
6th Nov 2019
11:37am
Trebor, I never even considered the pokies. I would only go by the bank balance, the super balance, the ability to buy a brand new car, the need to continually spend down by doing home improvements or the latest car or caravan. Evidence based stuff!
Why would you assume? You would use evidence based material only.
I have a friend who owns her own home, still works, owns land, has super, and she narrowly missed getting the pension. Crazy!!!
People do not know poverty until they have none of those things.
If you own your own home you are better off than someone who does not. It is not hard to work out. Of you have super, savings, back up stuff then you are well off. People think they are hard up when they are not.
If you cannot eat every day fresh fruit and vegetables and buy your necessary medicines or have a roof over your head then you are poor and need extra help. Help those first and most, simple!
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
12:20pm
Just saying it's very hard to know exactly what financial set-up is in play .... you simply can't judge.

VCBB/OG constantly says the cruise ships are full of pensioners - I know nobody on pension alone who cruises.... so he cannot know their full circumstances.
Paddington
6th Nov 2019
9:38pm
Rubbish about pensioners and cruising. If all you have is the pension you are flat out getting by and many do not. Some on here talk about running out of money and having to go without meds. They are the ones who need more help.
VeryCaringBigBear
8th Nov 2019
10:23am
Cruise ships are full of pensioners and when asked most say they live well and it's not hard to save for a cruise.
Roggercat
6th Nov 2019
10:38am
I think it should be noted the a million dollars is not a high price for a house in some metropolitan areas. In the area I live there are many people with little money who live in homes which due to economic circumstances have risen steeply in value. Should these people be forced to sell the family home they have spent all their life in, in order to have an income?
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
11:01am
Hence my use of the term 'market value' as opposed to a simple 'dollar value'...
Farside
7th Nov 2019
3:59pm
Almost certainly anyone in this age group can afford to downsize and still live in the same neighbourhood. Those who choose to stay put while asset rich make their choices and those choices have consequences.
Designated Driver
6th Nov 2019
10:40am
"Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has stated the family home would not be included in the assets test for the Age Pension."

If that is the case, why do you persist in raising this topic numerous times each month?
Top Wombat
6th Nov 2019
10:44am
You mean to say you believe what politicians say?
Designated Driver
6th Nov 2019
10:58am
Only just before an election.
Batara
6th Nov 2019
11:08am
The fact that Frydenberg has stated the family home would not be included in the assets test makes it more likely that it will be. That is why the topic keeps coming up - to hold the Libs to account. Just ponder for a few seconds the porky pies peddled by the Libs.
Batara
6th Nov 2019
11:08am
The fact that Frydenberg has stated the family home would not be included in the assets test makes it more likely that it will be. That is why the topic keeps coming up - to hold the Libs to account. Just ponder for a few seconds the porky pies peddled by the Libs.
Mariner
6th Nov 2019
11:12am
The topic is being raised frequently because the powers that be will want to include the house in the asset test and we are being softened up. Remember about 20 years ago incessantly we were being told that the population was aging and that we have to work longer. So the women had to wait to 62 years and then to 65 (to be equal with men). Then Kevin Rudd at the end of a budget speech mentioned that from now on the people (both sexes) will have to work till 67. Liberals did not oppose and when the Govt wants to include your home the ALP will not oppose either. Both parties are of the same mind - and unless we can create a pensioner party the size of the Greens today we have no hope to prevent the attachment of the family home.
GeorgeM
7th Nov 2019
12:26pm
Exactly, DD.
I agree with Mariner - no hope from either major party, or the Greens. All need to be thrown out (in every seat) at each election, and we should push for new MPs (till a party for the people emerges) at each election - to send a clear message.
Buggsie
6th Nov 2019
10:48am
Alan, I am in exactly the same position as you - i don't get a pension but if I upsized my home I could easily qualify. What crock! Why is one asset exempt and another not? Designated driver, the reason that including the family home as a pension asset keeps surfacing as an issue is because of the injustice and sheer stupidity of the current asetts test.
VeryCaringBigBear
6th Nov 2019
10:50am
What better way for a family to build wealth than to have the oldies on a full old age pension living in a $10 million dollar house. An awesome way to build family wealth tax free and earn an income from the government as a bonus.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
11:06am
So - only the 'betters' are Entitled™ to build family wealth? The peasants can't scrimp and save so that their future generations can have a fair go?

Of course - the peasants are only there to serve their 'betters', neh?

What a provincial, backward, dim-witted, feudal concept...
VeryCaringBigBear
6th Nov 2019
11:10am
Unfortunately it is a reality and is being used by many families to build their family wealth tax free.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
12:22pm
Yeee-usssh.... so unless the payments etc for that home have been tax deductions throughout its 'working life' - how can you justify its inclusion now as an asset?
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
12:25pm
I'm trying to get across that it is the whole range of tax issues that need to be straightened up, VCBB - and you won't see LNP or Labor or Greens doing that while ever they themselves prosper mightily under the current train wreck.

Can you seriously see a Shorten chopping DI payments to his family trust(s)? Don't make me laugh - no politician is ever going to actually implement a policy that will take something from them and theirs... and stuff the peasants....
Misty
6th Nov 2019
1:24pm
That won't work with this govt VCBB, they are looking at making changes to Inheritence for wealthy families.
VeryCaringBigBear
6th Nov 2019
2:50pm
Misty that won't hurt those wealthy families either.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
9:25pm
That's why Shorten was purportedly on to trusts and such - pity his family run trusts, eh?
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
10:53am
Not the old 'family home' dispute again???

For every fat cat who gets a pension while living in a home worth three times market value, there are thousands living in homes of market value, and those thousands are often finding it difficult to keep up with maintenance etc.
Farside
7th Nov 2019
4:01pm
If they cannot keep up with maintenance then the answer is pretty obvious. Choices have consequences.
Horace Cope
6th Nov 2019
11:05am
Is it a slow news day? This topic keeps popping up although it is dressed in different clothes each time. The family home is already included in the age pension deliberation. Those who own, or are buying, the family home are allowed less assets to qualify for a pension than those who rent. Renters are given a rental allowance; home owners are given nothing to compensate for upkeep and rates.

Just to make this as clear as I can, each year bureaucrats, in trying to justify their position, give the Treasurer a list of things that will either reduce costs or raise income for their department. Each and every year bureaucrats have given the Treasurer this idea to include the family home to reduce the amount of pensions paid. Each and every year the Treasurer, regardless of political colour, has roundly rejected this proposal.

To answer the question put: no I am not concerned about ongoing debate around including the family home in the age pension assets test. Politicians have never considered the idea and legislating such an idea would be almost impossible given the disparity in housing costs Australia wide.
musicveg
10th Nov 2019
2:39pm
Yes there is far too many difference in housing costs, my mum's house is worth 400,000 (if she is lucky to get that much) but in the city it would be worth $1 million or more, so why should she be kicked out of her house, she lives week by week on the pension because my dad unfortunately did not have super. Why not save money buy going for the ex-pollies pensions?
Farside
11th Nov 2019
12:36pm
musicveg, is anybody actually suggesting your mum should be kicked out of her house or revaluing her home as if it were in a different location? No point becoming agitated over a thought bubble that is not under serious consideration.

In any event I'm confident your crystal ball does not reveal what the thresholds might be if and when the family home is included in the assets test (notwithstanding the $200k homeowner recognition currently) and how these thresholds might affect the pension. I have not heard of any suggestion that a $400k house will kick someone off the pension.
musicveg
11th Nov 2019
1:03pm
Farside you miss read me, I am not agitated, and I was not suggesting that my mum would have to sell a her home, I was suggesting that if her house was in a different location like in a city it would be worth a lot more and possibly she would loose her pension if they included the home in the asset test. I do not own any cryrstal balls.
Farside
11th Nov 2019
3:28pm
my apologies musicveg
musicveg
11th Nov 2019
3:44pm
No worries Farside, no offence taken, thanks
Lucky Lady
6th Nov 2019
11:06am
so you and your partner buy a $495,000 home just an old 50s shack in an outer suburb 10 years later it is valued at $1.2 mil you still just scrap through every fortnite on your pensions every thing keeps going up food ,insurance, elect, gas, water so it is harder all the timeand they want to say hey your in a million dollar house so you should have less
VeryCaringBigBear
6th Nov 2019
11:13am
Nothing stopping you from buying a house o retirement worth $10 million either so you can get full pension plus benefits.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
12:29pm
Only having the ready, VCBB.. how did Lucky Lady get $10m to toss around?

A very few may be able to do that (their tax over life needs a full review) - the very vast majority cannot, and instead struggle and scrimp to own a home.

I bought a small farm - got booted out of a job - went 3-4 months with no income - I paid the mortgage instead of eating... that home meant that much to me. and that was at the time the interest rates were sky-rocketing under Keating's 'recession the scum had to have - as long as it didn't affect the Keatings of the country."

Ask me again why I hold the views I do... you'll get a book...
musicveg
10th Nov 2019
2:41pm
Trebor when are you writing your book?
80 plus
6th Nov 2019
11:18am
perhaps if center link legislation did not penalize pensioners who sell the family home, their would be fewer pensioners living in expensive 4 bedroom mansions,allow pensioners to down size with any excess funds placed into a super fund with out affecting the state pension, after all every tax cut to the wealthy ends up as an investment not employing people. Why reward some high wealth generating schemes but attack others who are asset rich but cash poor.
Farside
7th Nov 2019
4:26pm
good idea worth exploring further
MICK
6th Nov 2019
11:23am
Here we go again. The NEXT attempt to bring the family home into the assets test so that retirees with even a part pension can be pushed off this.
I find the continual attacks on any retiree who is not destitute abhorrent. Of course its not coming from the current government (again) is it???

For people with double digit intelligence it should be remembered that the attack on retirees is happening in only our country whilst other nations bestow the right to the pension on all. No mention is ever made of the fact that $1 million gets you a house at Rouse Hill in Sydney. Not a flash suburb of any sort and then you have to fork out stamp duty on top of that.

If the government we had to have had any morals or honesty within it it'd close offshore tax shelters (remember those?) and not give the wealthy tax cuts (no mention of that any more either). I recognise a campaign to destitute average retirees. The wealthy have their own investments and do not need much help from the state......which is precisely why this topic keeps cropping up. This lot are determined to nurture the lie and succeed in their perverse class war against 95% of the population.
Mariner
6th Nov 2019
11:43am
Well said Mick, all you mentioned is correct apart from your thinking that the other mob has not got the same idea for the future. Peas in a pod they are.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
12:32pm
I applaud you both - are you both ex-Service with a head on facing frontwards ? Living in Realityland for a while tends to do that ...
libsareliars
6th Nov 2019
1:51pm
Well said again Mick.
Fair Dinkum
6th Nov 2019
11:56am
We lived in a caravan for 8 years back in the 60 s to save up for a deposit on a home achieved that in 74 . We skimped on everything thing slept on the floor untill we could afford second hand furniture .we are now comfortable and dont get an oap but just a little better but dont get the discount s pensioners get. Why should we be penalized when we went without many things like holidays eating out luxury cars tv etc. But those who wasted there money on drinking gambling and luxuries they couldn't really afford want to take from us through government handouts. The Way things are going maybe we should have done the same.please leave us self funded retires alone who live on an income just a little better than the OAP be cause we did not waste our money.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
12:06pm
Oh - and BTW - it's Social Security - not welfare.... let's not confuse the two separate issues...
VeryCaringBigBear
6th Nov 2019
1:07pm
OAP is welfare as you only get it if you have no others means of support.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
1:33pm
Social Security - ask the current Reichsfuhrer - SS (Social Security) - that ODC (Obligatory Dopey Chick)...
Mad as Hell
7th Nov 2019
6:26am
The OAP is an entitlement if one qualifies, changing the rules for entitlement after one retires is wrong and theft of retirees assets.
VeryCaringBigBear
8th Nov 2019
10:25am
If you have to qualify then it is not an entitlement. There fore the OAP is nothing other than welfare.
Triss
6th Nov 2019
12:16pm
The posters who are jumping up and down to include a pensioner’s home in the asset test really don’t think it through. SFR and renters won’t see any difference in their own finances if the family home is asset tested but pensioners will still have to pay out rates, repairs, maintenance, etc on a much reduced pension. One size does not fit all. People are not robots and their working lives do not go in straight lines and, at retirement, everyone does not end up with the same amount of money.
Triss
6th Nov 2019
12:37pm
This is why a basic universal pension is so necessary, no-one feels grumpy because they don’t get what others get. If you want to live a carefree life on the money you earn in your working life then you’ll live on the basics in your latter years. If you save and put money away in your working life then you’ll have a nest egg for little luxuries when you retire. Democratic and good human rights policies.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
1:34pm
Fair enough - do those who are subject to vile treatment by 'bosses', or who endure divorce and home loss etc, get some concessions for hardship?
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
2:04pm
N.B. this leads us to discussion of Shorten's 'minimum national wage' - a concept wherein everyone of working age receives a minimum amount every week.... and that leads us to ts corollary - the National Minimum Superannuation Scheme (known as Nemesis) ...... the scheme wherein every individual - upon leaving school - has a minimum amount entered into an account for super every week... that amount can be added to by the individual as time goes by - but the theory is that, by retirement time - every individual will have accumulated enough super to fund a simple retirement, while those who are able to, can have a little more...

Needs tweaking, of course... such things as 'fees' and 'costs' need to be resolved, the minimum below which no fees are charged, how much extra any individual can contribute over and above the basic etc...and who will actually run the scheme... (hold on to that one for a while.. and be afraid.. be very afraid)

For those nay-sayers - this is, in effect, no different from the Menzies-style scheme - wherein a basic account was held for the nation as 'pension/social security funding - and it was added to from other strands of revenue as necessary...

The only real difference is that the account would be 'owned' by the individual and not the State - and we all know, by now, what happened to the Social Security fund in the hands of politicians past (and present)...

So - if the current and persistent 7% social security tax included in income tax were set aside into an individual account (not a state controlled account since consolidated into consolidated revenue and thus stolen) - and the state topped up to the minimum when required.....

Needs tweaking and thought ....
Crimmo
6th Nov 2019
1:14pm
The family home is already included in the means test by way of the differing thresholds for homeowners and non homeowners. It is not difficult anyway. Just exempt the family home up to the median capital city house price.
hyperbole
6th Nov 2019
4:05pm
That was what was suggested a week or so ago and it was howled down on here!
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
9:28pm
Different areas of capital cities have different property values - you'd need to do it by suburb...

The same house in Point Piper will only set you back a tenth of that in Werrington...
Crimmo
6th Nov 2019
1:14pm
The family home is already included in the means test by way of the differing thresholds for homeowners and non homeowners. It is not difficult anyway. Just exempt the family home up to the median capital city house price.
Cheezil61
6th Nov 2019
1:39pm
I'm sure it's been mentioned but the govt should take a look in their own backyard first.. govt super/pensions of around $200,000pa claimed whilst living in mansions & loaded with assets -if this was attended then there would be plenty for those contributing by means of actual hard work rather than the lack of effort most of these pollies put in or contribute to the system!
libsareliars
6th Nov 2019
1:53pm
Spot on.
musicveg
10th Nov 2019
2:53pm
Exactly, pollies have too many perks that set them, their children and their grandchildren up for life. Elites rule.
Pnina
6th Nov 2019
1:42pm
So an Australian National University (ANU) analysis has calculated that about $6.3 billion a year in Age Pension payments go to more than 255,000 pensioners who own homes valued at more than $1 million. I am one of those pensioners who lives in one of those $1 million properties. When in 1993 I bought it for a mere $35,000 it was a modest 3-bedroom cement wall building (with no wall of floor insulation) situated on a large housing commission estate which to this day covers the area of Ashwood, Chadstone, Holmesglen, Jordanville and more. Just because 25 years later its value exceed one million, does the ANU's study (which ignores nowadays true real estate values) suggest that I lose my old age pension because of my house's worth?
Mariner
6th Nov 2019
3:19pm
That is the question no one can answer, Pnina. Most of us living in country areas would not be affected as nothing ever rises here in real estate. In that way we are lucky but in other ways we pay about 20% more for goods and services. Do not even mention the choice of goods available. Have been told that I could buy on-line but getting a bit too old for that. Possibly my fault, not keeping up with technology changes.
Triss
6th Nov 2019
5:42pm
Taxpayer funded ex pollies’ pensions should be looked at first, Pnina. How many of them own multiple houses, how many of them left parliament, accessed their pensions and slid into either a grace and favour highly paid job or ran their own, how many of them are in their thirties/forties now and will be a burden on taxpayers for another twenty to thirty years? This pension inequality is corrupt.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
9:33pm
Not only that, Triss - but they continue to run their own business while in Parliament... as regards Kerryn Phelps, I said that still being the GP etc was not in accord with the need for politicians to be full time in their alleged handling of this nation - not part-timers on a good extra income gig...

That applies to them all... which leads to the conclusion that, as I've said times many - anyone over a certain level of wealth should not be permitted to stand for election.... a complete inversion of the 'good old days' when only those above a certain wealth could even vote - and thus they arranged the rules to suit themselves.... hence business tax holiday compared to the wage earner, hence deductions not available to Joe Toiler and his wife Jo, hence the endless holiday for trusts and 'family companies' that essentially are the same as Joe bringing in a weekly wage...

Those days are gone... we need people who know reality, and who do not have endless conflicts of interest running this nation on our behalf as our paid servants...
Brissiegirl
6th Nov 2019
2:01pm
Your Life Choices preparing a submission? A submission that suggests taxing old people via their hard-earned family home? Well, well, well.

Another socialist rag along ABC lines, that's just what we (don't) need.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
2:15pm
Yeah - I looked at that ABC Q & A panel last night of 'feminists only' - no country for old and young men ... each one of them wrapped to the gills in theory and no real practicality - but sounding so adamant and firm in their beliefs - the commentator called them 'strong women' - and I cracked up...

Nothing strong about being an intellectual Nazi ... that's weakness in my book... only the strong can be kind and gentle.....

Wonder when they'll have a panel of no country for old and young women - so-called Men's Rights Activists - with a similar grounding in theory etc leavened with a dose of practicality and 'mansplaining' through presenting facts and reason...?
Mariner
6th Nov 2019
3:23pm
TREBOR - that would be called "mysogynist programming" and would never take place at ABC. Surprised you could watch it, switched off after 10 minutes. Changing the channel was cheaper than throwing a glass at the screen!
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
9:36pm
I lasted about two minutes - listened to some of the trite garbage being trotted out , and switched off - both ways...

My conscience kept murmuring:- "Learn the ways of your true enemy.. learn the ways of your true enemy... beware feminist.. destroyer of worlds...."

...... but I just couldn't stomach it.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
9:38pm
It's perfectly in order, under the New World Order, to have a panel of self-confessed feminists parading their Delphic Oracle 'educated knowledge' to the world on national TV... but if you dare suggest equal hearing from Men Aggrieved....... the doors of Hell are looming large for you, my son....

Please note that I support women and equality and real rights - which automatically means I reject feminism as one-sided, limited in scope, and lacking in understanding of the basics of equality and democracy...
Mariner
6th Nov 2019
10:22pm
Never a truer word was written, Thanks TREBOR.
neil
6th Nov 2019
2:26pm
Not concerned about the asset test debate, but much concerned that super. has become a means of tax evasion.
Neil.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
2:32pm
"In politics, nothing happens by accident - if it happens at all, it was planned that way." - FDR
VeryCaringBigBear
6th Nov 2019
2:53pm
No one should be allowed to have more than $1.6 million in super and certainly not $50 million as that's tax evasion on a grand scale.
hyperbole
6th Nov 2019
4:06pm
Buying expensive homes has become a means of getting the pension and has been for years and years. The goverment is well aware of it and trying to do something about it without disadvantaging others.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
9:39pm
Both these are easily fixed........
neil
6th Nov 2019
2:26pm
Not concerned about the asset test debate, but much concerned that super. has become a means of tax evasion.
Neil.
thommo
6th Nov 2019
3:13pm
It's obvious from many of the commentary that class warfare is alive and well. There seems to be a lot of jealousy towards full age pensioners begrudging them their right and entitlement to the pension.
There aren't too many of them owning a $3M + home, as they clearly couldn't maintain it on the lousy pension payment anyway.
The best way to end the arguments about affordability and demonising pensioners is to establish a universal pension which is easily sorted out through the taxation system.
If our government can give welfare payments to farmers, they can afford to look after other less off people without labelling them with this stigma .
Mariner
6th Nov 2019
3:29pm
He's got something I have not. I want it too, I deserve it. when do I want it? NOW! If you cannot walk past a poker machine during your working life you definitely need the full pension - unfortunately the pension money goes mostly in the same direction. I live between 2 major pokies palaces. In WA they have less problems, no poker machines, apart from the casino. Food for thought.
Rae
6th Nov 2019
4:35pm
Giving $8 billion to working mothers in childcare subsidies doesn't get queried either. We managed to pay the childcare ourselves. No tax deductions at all.

Some of them live in million dollar homes and earn very high salaries.

Mariner is right. Wyong Leagues takes over half a million in poke profits every single day.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
9:45pm
... and PPL, Rae... and PPL... lest we forget (nearly 11/11) the incomparable Abbott and his comment that the bills don't stop for women on $150k (with a hubby on the same or more) just because you have to take time off..... apparently that kind couldn't budget as we all had to do for time off and kids...

Did he or his mates ever consider that with regard to those thrown on to unemployment or those on pension who daily face rising costs of living? The bills don't stop because you suddenly have no income (often because government policies ruined your chances in one of several ways) or because you have the damned gall to travel in your twilight years or because you go to Scotland to look after your ailing mother or something...

Not as long as their arseholes pointed downwards.....

There are things we must never forget......
musicveg
10th Nov 2019
2:57pm
Rae I thought child care subsidies was means tested too?
older&wiser
6th Nov 2019
3:28pm
Simply because you live in a home that may be worth some money does NOT make you wealthy! God I am sick of seniors being seen as easy targets.
Mariner
6th Nov 2019
3:31pm
We are not seen as easy targets - we ARE. Where can we turn to?
Jtee
6th Nov 2019
9:14pm
Exactly, Older&wiser. We have been in our home for 40 years now and through no fault of our own it is worth a lot of money because the area has become the retirement haven for city people whose own properties are worth even more.

Our children were brought up in this home and we built it with the intention of living out our lives there.

The house is our largest asset and we worked long and hard to get it. We have twenty year old cars and do not waste at all.

The story of having the home added to the asset test is frightening to us and you are right, seniors are being seen as easy targets when the government should be concentrating on tax avoidance (and the so called "legal methods" of tax avoidance).
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
9:47pm
I've had three homes now - lost two to relationship breakups and had to start again... and again... after starting life with no home ....

Do I get special consideration?
Florgan
6th Nov 2019
3:38pm
No to our homes being included in the asset test.
hyperbole
6th Nov 2019
4:02pm
If there are only 225,000 with homes over a million dollars I think it is well worth looking at. It will not affect the majority of pensioners and maybe more money will come their way.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
9:48pm
*sighs* look at the lowest prices in major cities and tell me all those people are rich in cash.... *sighs* ...
Sundays
6th Nov 2019
4:06pm
Including the family home in the Asset test (bad idea covered by others) will not help the homeless or single people who rent. More public housing for poorer pensioners is what is really needed, yet it is never addressed.
Chris B T
6th Nov 2019
5:43pm
If someone Has $1 Million Plus Home or for that matter $10 million Home.
Where did it come from 1. Gifted
2. Lotto Win or similar
3. Payed for out of Taxed Earnings
If it is the third then the home owner would have Paid 10 times more tax than most especially at $10 million.
The other costs associated with these Expensive Homes would be Rates, Insurance, Maintenance and the initial outlay after taxed earnings.
I'm not in this category (I Wish) how do you Tell someone who has Paid So Much Tax that you are not considered legible for OAP.
Wouldn't that Be Considered Selfish By Those, that didn't Pay as Much Tax.
The Super Scheme Introduced in 1992 has some time to go 2040 or so for Full Possible Benefit.
Leave The Home Alone what ever value.
Rae
7th Nov 2019
7:35am
Problem is the new fancy privatised retirement income scheme is not working. The $32 billion it costs just in fees alone means it's unviable. Rather than face that we have these sorts of ideas cropping up. And if the markets correct and half of everyone's forced savings disappear the screaming will deafen us all.

Even full possible benefits after decades of saving is not much more than a full government pension with all the concessions added in for the bottom 60%.
Chris B T
7th Nov 2019
10:09am
My comments are about Now and How the People at or above OAP age are viewed.
No one 15/17 of age at 1992 will have the Full Benefit of The Compulsory Super Scheme That was introduced.
The reference in this Article is about introducing the Home as source of OAP replacement in the Very Near Future.
I have a Crystal Ball that is had of telling what tomorrow will bring.
So tell my How you know of 21 years away ???
BorntoolateRetiredtooearly
6th Nov 2019
7:26pm
Seriously , I'd be more concerned about the many retirees who are under pension age but over 60 and choose to retire and yet keep their Superannuation in accumulation mode so they can claim Newstart from the government to help pay for their retirement . Make them put their super into pension mode ....... Newstart is for the unemployed trying to find employment.
Just because your home is valued over $1mil doesn't make you wealthy.
Rusty
6th Nov 2019
8:02pm
Why don’t we target the pollies who have much better pensions than the rest or the overseas companies who trade here but pay NO tax ,leave the pensioners alone,remember we VOTE.
TREBOR
6th Nov 2019
9:50pm
... but many of us don't know how to vote in our own interests ....

I haven't voted for any major party since the guv lost part of my military records and created a fuss over my claim...

I will never trust them again... but I will oppose them to the last...
musicveg
10th Nov 2019
3:01pm
No matter which party you vote for they are all elitists who will not touch their own pension schemes. New rules are needed, asset test the pollies too. Everyone including pollies should get a universal pension and then pay tax on everything above.
Woof
7th Nov 2019
10:08am
Don't get me wrong people I'm on a pension so I don't think I'm one of these fat cats you all seem to have been discussing. My house is worth over a million dollars however and it's a good thing as I'm planning to sell and move to Sydney, where a million will now buy a small flat. Any money that remains will most likely have to go into super so I don't fail the assets test, losing what I live on: only just enough. Holding a degree in Economics and having studied Investment and Finance with the ASI the franking system underline the value of any super assets within Australia in a round about way, that is share prices. Im sure you all know how the hard working super contributions of those that can afford voluntary deposits are held by the funds. Personally after paying 32.5 cents on each dollar between $37000 and $97000 plus the $3700 odd, I don't begrudge anyone a franking credit. It's just as easy to say the top end of town is costing Australia millions as to is to say pensioners cost us millions. The OAP maybe a thing of the past, certainly today's children will never cost Australia as much as in the past due primary to superannuation laws. It's those of this community roughly 50 years old odd that will have the toughest time. Currently I count myself lucky on $440 a week, although in Perth the cost of some basics to survival is great than Sydney e.g. I find it quite amazing still in Australia how one week it's the dole bluggers fault for Economic troubles, the next it's those on incomes over $180000 p.a: who in theory paid 45cents on each dollar above that. I'd just like to add I wouldn't consider myself fortunate to paid 45% on a dollar earned.
Kaz
7th Nov 2019
1:00pm
Who keeps raising concerns because the pensioners aren’t?! This type of article doesn’t help. Most are opposed so stop the conversation there.
Oma
7th Nov 2019
9:17pm
If the home is included in the pension test you will find that poor people will again be affected. Rich people can afford to be knocked off the pension. Just because a person has worked hard to own the home doesn't mean they can afford to live in it without the pension to which they are entitled.
VeryCaringBigBear
8th Nov 2019
10:26am
You are not poor with a $10 million dollar house.
day dreamer
8th Nov 2019
6:40am
It's interesting to see articles like this always comes up to angry people. It's also interesting to see that so many of us be angried and post comments HERE, but no articles published representing our views.
I think these articles are part of the propaganda that sooner or later will be adopted by the government.
let's wait and see.
GrayComputing
8th Nov 2019
12:24pm
NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVER AGAIN!
A pension is not welfare.

Now is the season for discontent, so do something about it!
It is time to kill off this insane hugely expensive pensioner whacking bureaucracy.

It is time for all of us (yes that means you) to rant at our MPs and Senators daily to take action for human decency and a huge stress reduction for pensioners

Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules.

Hiring more Centrelink staff will only increase taxpayer’s costs for processing the creeping insane red tape monster system politicians and well paid bureaucrats have created.

Help scrap it now. Become a hero.

Even the UK and poorer New Zealand has a NO ASSET pension so it is cheaper and user friendly.

Why worry that few million$ earners get it too. That is peanuts to them, not enough for a good vintage champagne.

Do retired and retiring people really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be part of 3 million waiting queues and lost calls?

We all (that means you) need to tell our MP and senators every day that these criminal asset tests for a pension must be dropped now.
day dreamer
8th Nov 2019
12:37pm
Greycomputing, I feel you are a very intelligent person with logic. How about you form a party for aged people that can make our voice louder?
Life experience
8th Nov 2019
3:54pm
LEAVE THE FAMILY HOME ALONE.
We’re already penalised where we can have less savings.
My house isn’t worth over a million but One day it might be. I don’t want to have to move to free up capital.
AverageJoe
9th Nov 2019
10:22am
Would someone please provide the exact definition of “wealthy”?
Willfish
9th Nov 2019
10:47am
Yep, lets give OAP to couples and singles who own $2M houses, so taxpayers can subsidise the inheritance to their children. That sounds a great idea.
day dreamer
9th Nov 2019
4:20pm
Willfish, Have you ever thought of where did the $2m home come from? Apart from capital growth, it came from hard earned and saved after tax money.
These people paid tax during their work life to support those in need and those lazy bones.

Why do you think the blood suckers have any right to any cents of their inheritance???

They are entitled to leave it to anyone as they wish!!!
panos
9th Nov 2019
6:05pm
Simple really, when you die the state gets your house to sell and the benefits which are then used to increase the pension for everyone...
Travellersjoy
10th Nov 2019
10:47am
Old people who have lived in a house for 20 years or more should not be penalised because their community gentrifies through no fault of the elder. Forcing them to sell up or lose the pension, or forcing them to run down their equity is unjust WHEN
others with millions in other assets, income from trust funds, huge superannuation accounts, multiple properties, or who bought their home in near retirement to ensure they become eligible for age pensions.

The only people to benefit from the current propaganda against poor pensioners owning houses that incidentally increase in value are the real estate industry always searching for new properties for their own profit; banksters looking for rip-off loan opportunities; and Liberal parties that want to keep the billions gushing upwards and never trickling down.

It is clear that most of the proponents for the sell off of pensioners' homes are the same neo-liberals who promoted the asset stripping of our public sector under Howard et al, depriving citizens of the benefits of a century of public investment in public owned assets. They have an ideological conviction that governments should make laws protecting their fraudulent thafts and preserving their political and economic advantage - and they don't care whose money they are taking - homes from mainly little old ladies is a cinch when you buy a compliant government or bamboozle inexperienced citizens with economics via the psychology of gaslighting.

Enough of treating all seniors as if they have the same interests. There are poor pensioners getting poorer by the week while our so generous governments subsidise affluent retirees by enabling them to access pension 'entitlements', conserve large capital assets, and protect inheritences for their children via a range of scams made legal to buy votes from a generation that knows just how lucky they are, not willing to give up a cent and forever expecting more.

I refuse to give up my little so they can have a lot more.
Farside
10th Nov 2019
11:29am
nobody is "forcing" asset rich pensioners to sell up or lose the pension; these are choices, just are those that organise their financial affairs to suit their objectives.
don
10th Nov 2019
12:28pm
THey seem to forget the 750 corporations who don't pay tax, and if they did they would be rolling in money only for them to waste it again. What about the futures fund being put in consolidated revenue and all pollies put on center link same as us, think of the massive savings. They say retired pollies pensions are due to hit one billion next year and several years before it comes down.!
musicveg
10th Nov 2019
3:04pm
And the subsidies that go to rich mining corporations.
musicveg
10th Nov 2019
2:24pm
Will the politicians get the same treatment? Asset test them, they are costing the taxpayers a hell of a lot more, pensions for ex-pollies is not asset tested, so they live way above the poverty line for doing a few years of work, seems a bit unfair to me.
don
10th Nov 2019
3:13pm
It would be interesting to see the pollies wealth from when they first started and when they finished with politics, I am not talking about their pension. They said Hawk left $20,000,000 , what about the others.?
Blinky
11th Nov 2019
11:47am
How can a pensioner be classified as wealthy? Putting the family home aside, pensioners must meet the asset test, which is under a mill x couples, and therefore, they would not be entitled to a pension if they go over it.
If a pensioner is sitting on a two million dollar home, which he must ha bought decades ago, but who now needs a govt pension, it means that he now needs an income i.e. pension because he doesnt have one. Let us remember there is also an income test of circa $300 per fornight per couple. If this pensioner was "wealthy," he would not be entitled to a pension.
Wealthy retirees are not "pensioners" i.e. people who have a govt pension. They are paying x their own retirement and are not a burden to the govt., nor are they subjected to the ever-changing pension rules that greedy treasurers, politicians n financial gurus are foeverer threatening pensioners with.
In sum, there are no "wealthy pensioners" Any pensioners who gets the Aussie pension is NOT wealthy, that is why he is a pensioners!!!
veepee
11th Nov 2019
10:38pm
What a hoot! After the LNP lying by insinuating that loss of franking credits was a tax which would impact on all older people (when in fact Labor had said those eligible for a pension or part pension would not be affected) the issue now rears its head again, only this time it is mooted by the LNP.
The family home should assessed. Owners of a $million house would not be impoverished if total assets were capped at $1.6 million before pensions were impacted - they'd just learn to live in the real world.
pjvixen
12th Nov 2019
2:11pm
My parents bought a house on a river in Sydney in1930. Their family said they were mad as there was not much public transport, dirt road and they lived at the end of the earth. Move forward to the 70's when Dad retired a complete suburb had grown up around them and rates had skyrocketed. Dad's super was half his final wage and ceased when Dad died. He left Mum along in a million dollars suburb, her only friends being in the same street and property on which eventually she could not pay the rates. Today she would have been classed as a million dollar home owner but that did not give her an income and she did not want to be forced to sell and move to another suburb completely strange to her with no friends. Why should she be forced to move?


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