MEDIA RELEASE: Labor’s Pensioner Guarantee on dividend imputation credits welcomed by COTA

The Federal Opposition’s revised policy on excess dividend imputation credits has been welcomed by COTA Australia, the leading advocacy and policy body for older Australians.

After the policy was originally announced, COTA Australia called on the Opposition to recognise there are people of low and modest means who rely on these payments and who will not easily be able to change their arrangements in retirement to make up lost income.

Chief Executive of COTA Australia, Ian Yates, said:

“If you are a full or part pensioner you obviously don’t have a high income and, following the pension assets test changes that commenced on 1 January 2017, you don’t have as large a nest egg either. Most pensioners live on very tight budgets and the loss of any income hurts.

“The Opposition has given us a good hearing, and their announcement of the Pensioner Guarantee means that all pensioners and allowance recipients will be protected from the abolition of cash refunds for excess dividend imputation credits when the policy commences in July 2019, if Labor is elected to government at the next Federal election.”

Self-managed superannuation funds with at least one pensioner or allowance recipient before 28 March 2018 will also be exempt from the changes.

Mr Yates said that “Despite the Government’s welcome reforms to superannuation in 2016, the principal tax concessions on superannuation are still too generous for higher income, high asset people, so also giving them concessions through cash refunds of franking credits above offsetting taxation obligations is not justifiable.

“The Federal Budget cannot afford to continue to forgo revenue by giving concessions and tax breaks to people who are well off and don’t need more money to live comfortably, when there are so many real needs not being met in our community.

“COTA has also advocated to the Opposition that some of the additional revenue raised from this change should be invested in measures that will support older Australians such as:

  • reducing the waiting list for home care packages in aged care, where tens of thousands of people are waiting up to a year for help
  • finally putting in place an oral and dental care service for older Australians
  • making superannuation fairer for women and low-income people
  • reducing hospital waiting lists especially for joint replacement surgery.

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Jenny Stokes 0478 504 280

COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.