Media Release

Retirement policies unfair - Retirement Incomes Review needed urgently

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The latest report in Per Capita's Longevity and Positive Ageing project released today backs up calls for the Federal Government to convene a comprehensive Retirement Incomes Review.
COTA Australia CE Ian Yates said current policies are inequitable and are made worse by the measures announced in the May Budget - wealthy Australians benefit in their retirement at the expense of age pensioners and low-income earners.

Per Capita says:

The risk to Australia's future is not that too much public money is spent on the age pension; Australia has one of the lowest age pension spends in the OECD. Instead, the pensions and superannuation system has become skewed towards the interests of wealthier Australians and is funding short-term consumption rather than meeting long-term need.

Mr Yates said the Per Capita report also rejected the Government's proposal, in Bills already passed by the House of Representatives, to change pension indexation from the current arrangements to CPI only.

This change alone would mean a big cut to the pension over time and, as Per Capita notes, mean more older people would slide into poverty.

"We welcome Per Capita's input into the debate on how Australia can better plan for the ageing population," Mr Yates said.

"Only yesterday COTA Australia launched our ‘Hands Off the Pension' campaign calling on the Treasurer to drop harsh changes to the age pension now before the Senate and have a proper, independent Review.

"This report today confirms that expecting pensioners to carry the Budget savings load is grossly unfair given the high superannuation tax concessions which are showered on wealthy Australians.
"The Prime Minister says pensioners are a patriotic lot who will be happy to carry their fair share for the good of Australia.

"However older Australians know they are being asked not to carry their fair share, which they would willingly do, but to carry a far greater share than they should given their low incomes -while people on high incomes get tax benefits far in excess of the pension.

"An inequitable retirement income system is not sustainable, will never have stability, and is bad for the economy.

"Again COTA calls for a comprehensive independent Retirement Incomes Review which pulls together all the relevant stakeholders to review pension, superannuation, taxation and mature workforce issues and come up with a more equitable and sustainable approach to how we manage retirement incomes."

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Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Olivia Greentree 0439 411 774

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