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COTA

Media Release

We need a government blueprint for an ageing Australia - pension changes must be deferred while a proper review is conducted

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A blueprint released at the National Press Club today detailing policy options for an ageing Australia again shows the need for the Federal Government to take proposed changes to the pension off the table and commit to a better plan for the changing demographics of the nation.

The blueprint, written by members of the former Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing after the Panel was abolished by the Abbott government, makes various proposals in areas of economic development, housing, health, technology, transport, urban design and ageism.

The blueprint calls for "a retirement incomes strategy that is comprehensive of all taxation, superannuation, transfer system and employment issues".

COTA Australia CE Ian Yates welcomed the blueprint as another contribution to the ageing population debate and renewed calls for the government to convene an independent retirement incomes review.

"The ageing of our population generates a range of challenges and opportunities," Mr Yates said.

"The blueprint released today is one of a series of considered approaches which have been put out by academics, think tanks and industry organisations, many of which were presented at COTA's own National Policy Forum on Making an Australia for all ages - what's the plan? on 22 July," he said.

(Link to the forum: http://www.cota.org.au/australia/Events/2014/national-policy-forum-2014.aspx.)

"Such papers continue to be produced due to the vacuum in quality policy discussion that exists at the federal government level on these important issues.

"Instead we have policy decisions being made in isolation, without proper consideration of their broader and interconnected impact or how they will or will not meet the future needs of the whole of Australia.

"The result is an unfair retirement system where many higher income earners and wealthy retirees each receive a superannuation tax concession greater than the value of the age pension.

"Clearly this inequitable arrangement is unsustainable and needs to be addressed.

"A public, independent, Retirement Incomes Review, involving all the relevant stakeholders and experts, needs to look at the winners and losers in retirement and consider how to best approach the age pension, superannuation, mature age employment and tax concessions now and into the future.

"While this is conducted, the proposed changes to the pension - in particular the reduced indexation which cuts the pension by 10% by 2024 and will hit hardest those who can least afford it - need to come off the table."

Download a copy of the media release

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


Supporters can sign up to the Hands Off the Pension campaign at http://www.cota.org.au/australia/

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