Pension discussion paper

It’s time to ROUND IT UP

The report

Released on 11.08.08, a discussion paper prepared by Jeff Harmer, Families Department, shows the following rates for the Age Pension:

Couples $456.80 x 2 fortnightly

Single $546.80 fortnightly (60% of couple’s rate)

OECD average means single rate is 63% of couples


Single Age Pensioners in Australia are paid at a lower rate than in comparable nations in the western world

The response from government

Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd (speaking from Seoul, South Korea) said the government “cannot solve every problem overnight”. Families Minister, Jenny Macklin, noted many pensioners “are struggling”.

The response from the Opposition

Shadow Treasurer, Malcolm Turnbull, said pensioners were the “forgotten people”

AboutSeniors WEBSITE response

How many reports do any governments need to make a decision to stop Australian pensioners from being treated as third class citizens – and from living well below the poverty line?

Yet another report notes that some two million Australians are living on less than a modest level on income, and in particular, single Age Pensioners fare not even keeping up with their counterparts in other developed countries.

The government response which notes the struggle but refuses to countenance any increase in the short term is arrogant and inadequate.

The response from the Opposition is similarly arrogant – to note that the pensioners under a Rudd government are the “forgotten people” is to forget how truly forgotten they were under a Howard government with no realistic reviews or rises. On this subject both major parties share a lack of care and compassion.

AboutSeniors solution – ROUND IT UP

We call upon the Federal Government to immediately round up the single Age Pension fortnightly payment from $546.80 to $600. This extra $53.20 per fortnight will not go far when you consider rapidly rising fuel and food prices – but every little bit helps.

This increase would cost less than $1 billion per year (our sums say $886 million).

How does the government currently spend our money?

· $50 million for the next Tourism Australia campaign to be created by film director, Baz Lurhman. Do we really need to pay this director to promote his own movie?

· $12 million for a four year Grocery Watch scheme – highly unlikely it will last the year, let alone four.

Our response to the May Budget holds true. On May 16 we said:

“Why are we dissatisfied with this budget?”

Because, despite revenue of $319 billion, and expenditure of $292 billion, virtually no concessions have been directed toward the nearly two million Australians struggling to survive on the Age Pension.

The single Age Pension of $273 a week remains a disgrace. There is no excuse for this punishment of vulnerable older Australians – particularly those who do not own their own homes. AboutSeniors website will continue to press for a higher fortnightly payment for single pensioners.”

We repeat our commitment to the call for a higher fortnightly payment for the single Age Pension. If the Federal Government immediately adopted our ROUND IT UP suggestion it would cost the country (i.e. we taxpayers) .0027% of government revenue for the fiscal year, or .003% of planned expenditure. Given that most recipients have paid a lifetime of taxes, it doesn’t seem too much to ask.

Send an email to your local member to apply pressure for an increase now – not next year or next century.