Pensioners across Australia are calling on their Senators to vote against proposed changes to the pension which will dramatically affect their standard of living, said leading seniors advocate COTA Australia today.

The Social Security amendments are listed for debate on today’s Senate Notice Paper.

COTA Australia CE Ian Yates said the Bills before the Senate dramatically change the way six monthly pension adjustments are calculated, freeze income and assets tests, and raise the pension age to 70.

“If these Bills are passed, less older Australians will be eligible for the pension and those who are will see an effective cut to their pension of more than $80 a week over the seven years after the changes come into effect, due to the indexation changes.

“Australia will also have the oldest pension age in the developed world,” Mr Yates said.

“The indexation cuts hit hardest full pensioners with little or no assets or other income and are a huge amount to be out of pocket for the average pensioner.
“We know many on the pension now make choices now between taking required medications, buying fresh food or paying their growing utility bills.

“They worry how they will get by if they have to live on any less.

“For the Coalition to target pensioners in this way is unfathomable, especially when they have left other generous superannuation measures in place which favour high income earners and more wealthy retirees.

“Pensioners and their families across the nation today will be looking to the Senate to do the right thing and vote these unfair changes down.”

Mr Yates called on the Government to withdraw the Bills and set up an independent Retirement Incomes Review to report by the end of 2015.

“Pensions are just one element of a bigger need which is to plan for Australia’s ageing population,” Mr Yates said.

“We need to take a broad and comprehensive look at pensions, superannuation, taxation, and mature age employment and work out the best and fairest policies Australia should adopt for our older people and our economy now and into the future.”

Supporters can sign up to the Hand Off the Pension campaign and email their concerns to Senators athttps://www.cota.org.au/australia/

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