Millions of Australians are set to benefit from the largest increase in social security payments in almost a decade, but Labor claims the Federal Government’s increase is “out of touch.”
Following the government’s announcement on March 14, those receiving the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment will, from March 20, receive an extra $20.10 a fortnight for singles to $987.60 and by $30.20 a fortnight for couples combined to $1,488.80.
Asset test limits have also been increased which will allow more senior Australians to access a part pension.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the increase was “the largest increase since 2013.”
“Pensioners will see a 2.1 per cent increase to their payments,” she said.
“This is putting money in the pockets of all Australians who rely on our social security system and, in particular, older Australians,” she said.
However, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has slammed the announcement, telling reporters “the rise in the pension will not keep up with the costs of living.”
“This government is so out of touch that they’re prepared to spin out there saying how well pensioners are going to be off,” he said.
“When they get to the supermarket to buy products they find that everything‘s gone up.
“Pensioners are doing it really tough at the moment.”
Financial advice firm Tribeca Financial CEO Ryan Watson also took issue with the increase, telling The Australian that the current rise in the cost of food, fuel meant “a 2 per cent pension increase just simply doesn’t cut it” for many Australians.
The cost of living is proving to be a prominent issue of late following a recent significant rise in the cost of petrol and grocery products.
Official data from consumer network One Big Switch revealed a “shocking” rise in the price of grocery products and the cost of living.
Our official cost of living data does not pass the pub test! The #truecostofliving is up to 74% higher than the Govt says.
— One Big Switch (@OneBigSwitchAU) March 1, 2022
One Big Switch examined the price of products on shelves at Woolworths and Coles and compared them from one year ago, finding a rise in the cost of meat, pantry items and drinks.
Drinks saw a price of 7.7 per cent while fruits and vegetables along with pantry items followed by close behind with a 5 per cent increase.
Meat products also saw a considerable price increase with diced beef rising by 22 per cent in cost and basic beef mince up by 14 per cent.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently told reporters “these cost of living impacts are real and the Australian government understands that” while campaigning in the marginal seat of Dobell in New South Wales.
“This next election is about a choice, about our economy and how we can best manage our economy to manage a better future,” he said.