Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Budget Repair) Bill 2015
Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this Inquiry, and my apologies for our late submission.
COTA Australia is the national policy organisation of the State and Territory COTAs (Councils on the Ageing) in each of the eight States and Territories of Australia that make up the COTA Federation. The COTA Federation is the national consumer peak body for older Australians and its more than 1,000 seniors’ organisation members represent over 500,000 older Australians, in addition to over 30,000 individual members.
We focus on national policy issues from the perspective of older people as citizens and consumers and we seek to promote, improve and protect the circumstances and wellbeing of older people in Australia.
In its post Budget analysis of the 2015 Federal Budget COTA Australia indicated its opposition to the measure set out in Schedule 1 of this Bill to Reduce Portability of Pensions Outside of Australia.
Schedule 1 of the bill proposes that from 1 January 2017, the period during which the age pension and a small number of other payments, can be paid outside Australia at the basic means-tested rate be reduced from 26 weeks to six weeks. After six weeks, payment will be adjusted according to the length of the pensioner’s Australian working life residence under 35 years.