If “leaking” information is an indication of budget changes, then there will be good news for pensioners in the May Budget. Reports in weekend newspapers indicate a $30.00 per week rise for singles is on the cards
The Sunday Age newspaper quoted Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin saying “…we really do understand how difficult it is for pensioners. We’re serious about fixing this” Minister Macklin’s comments were in advance of the delivery of the Harmer Review (on the future tax system) later this coming week. Whilst the actual dollars may not be spelt out in the recommendations, there is speculation that an increase in the single pension as a proportion of the rate for couples will be supported. What is fact, as opposed to speculation, is that Senator Bob Brown, leader of the Greens, made a condition of passing the $42 billion stimulus package, that the level of the single pension be increased by at least $30 per week. If this increase goes through in the May Budget, it will open a can of worms for the Rudd Government as couples on a pension will hardly consider this fair. And self-funded retirees who have seen their nest eggs shrink with the global financial downturn will be wondering what they did wrong…. AboutSeniors website has consistently called for a significant increase in the pension for singles – as we believe it is single pensioners who are the hardest hit with rising food and fuel prices. We do believe, however, that the rate for couples should also be reviewed and adjusted. We recognise that self-funded retirees are hurting, and believe a more imaginative approach to rules regarding superannuation and allocated pensions would help alleviate some of the pain.
We do not, however, understand the tax cuts promised by both parties in the 2007 election, and delivered by the Rudd Government last year, to those who are earning four or five times the amount upon which single pensioners are asked to exist upon.
Watch this space for more news.