What the budget means for ageing Australians according to our advocates… 64



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Last night’s budget didn’t hold many surprises for older Australians in a move by the Liberal government to restore trust with the Australian public. It was a welcome move that has seen many pensioners breathe again after fears that pensions will be reduced and indexation slowed and higher GP fees have since been slashed.

Mr Ian Yates, the Chief Executive Officer of COTA (Council Of The Ageing Australia), has shared his thoughts on what the budget means and believes while some things are good news, there’s not a lot of added value of older Australians.

The obvious positive that will no doubt be keeping many Aussies happy is the ruling out of changes to the pension indexation as was outlined in the 2014 budget.

Mr Yates said, “Although this was announced prior to the budget, we are pleased to see it in black and white in the budget papers.

“The pension measures which look at changes to income thresholds and eligibility are a better place to start than with indexation but we remain convinced that a holistic review of the whole retirement space is the only way to get a fair, certain and sustainable retirement system for all for the next twenty years and beyond.

“Pensions are only one component of a complex retirement incomes system in which the various parts are intermeshed; and at present there are major inequities, inefficiencies and waste in the system.”We urgently need an independent, comprehensive Retirement Incomes Review, as we and many others have called for”.

Health was another big concern coming into this budget and while the GP co-payment was scrapped earlier this year in favour for a large-scale Medicare system review, the good news is that more drugs – important drugs such as breast cancer, treatments, MS treatments and Melanoma medication – are becoming available on the PBS in favour for medications that are not necessarily life-saving.

Mr Yates said that while this is a good change there are other areas that still need to be addressed by the government, “Given out of pocket health expenses are one of the biggest concerns for older Australians, we would have liked to see more measures that help older people reduce their health expenditure, including through targeted preventive health programs.

“We look forward to working constructively with the government on its health reform agenda over the coming twelve months to ensure older Australians needs are properly considered as part of this process.”

Another area of positive change is the adjustments to support for carers – as many older Australians are.

He said, “There is no doubt that looking for support services is extremely complicated and time consuming for carers. Measures announced in the Budget to introduce a ‘gateway’ of information over the phone and online will be help alleviate some of the confusion and complexity.

“The establishment of the carers advisory panel is also a good initiative”.

Mr Yates expressed biggest concern at the lack of improvement around supporting mature workers and combating age discrimination. He said that the impact the small changes to the Restart Employment Program will actually have are questionable.

“We understand that the government is introducing this change in order to encourage stronger employer participation in the program and we will watch closely to see if this is the outcome but at present we are not convinced.

“It is disappointing that the incentives only apply to older people who have been unemployed and on income support for six months. Earlier eligibility would make the older person more attractive to an employer and ensure they maintain their confidence.

“We are also disappointed there other complementary measures were not put in place to counteract the prevalence of age discrimination in the workplace.”

Mr Yates said he would also be looking for more detail on how the consolidated new wage subsidies program – which will now include older workers, long term unemployed, youth and the Tasmanian jobs program – impacts on older people or whether they get ignored.

So there you have it – the over 60s biggest advocate has spoken out on exactly what the federal budget means for older Aussies. While it is quite a lot of positive news, there seems to be a lot of questions remaining… We hope to find out more about the government’s support and care for the ageing population in coming weeks.

Tell us, as an older Australian are you happy with this budget? Share your thoughts in the comments below… 

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  1. for ordinary Pensioners it will mean higher cost for our medication and the fact that after 12 months of stress and name calling we are back to square 1 and they not cutting the CPI rise. Most of us all will remember “the poor don’t drive cars” and how can we forget that we ceased being older Australians and became ‘leaners” We gain nothing the $30 goes to self funded retires

    24 REPLY
    • Ann
      They only tell you the good things. Read about it in the Financial Times and you will find out all the hidden things Hockey didn5spruk about in his speech.

    • I watched budget report last night and have read paper this am what r you referring to Leanna Stephenson

    • Ann never rely on just the news..here it what you can do ..because I can’t do it for you..open google an type in budget 2015 Australia.. then up the top of google hit “news” you will find many many news posts on this..read it for yourself because that is what others are doing

    • No it is for people who have less and people with more assets will lose some if not all part pension.My understanding is those who can are expected to fund themselves and those who cant will get more and none will lose cards

    • you may be right Anne we will have to wait and see..I hope you are right ..I am tired, I was up late last night.. I found this The changes, to come in to force in January 2017, mean that 90 per cent of all people currently receiving a pension payment including the aged pension, veterans’ payments, carers and those on the disability support pension — an estimated 3.7 million Australians — will either not be affected or ­remain better off.

    • The pension increase is for those on the part-pension. The asset test has been tightened and those with “modest” assets, who own their home with less than $800,000 in assets will receive the additional $30 each fortnight.

    • It does not state part pension… it says pensioners with modest assets will get $30 increase

    • thanks starts at 60’s that was my understanding too, am to tired to search around for it.. have a lovely day..you earned it

    • I can’t see where it’s going to be any extra benefit to me. It’s going to cost me extra per month for scripts just for starters. I know it’s not a huge amount as I only have 3 scripts but from what I can see, as a non-home owner, I won’t be seeing that $30 extra.

    • ……”modest assets to have $30 average increase in pension a fortnight provided they own their own home and have additional assets worth less than $250,000 (singles) and $374,000 (couples)…” is what the article said – nothing about part time there. or that those with assets $800,000 to get it.

    • thanks starts at 60’s, I honestly did not think they meant we were all getting it. I was a bit surprised to read some of these comments

    • What about age pensioners who don’t own their home and don’t have all that money in the bank or invested

    • And it’s only for part pensioners who are assessed under the assets tests. There doesn’t appear to be any changes for The part pensioners who are assessed under the income test

  2. To all the Liberal Vioters
    I hope your proud of yourselves
    In hurting your fellow man

    6 REPLY
    • Gayle where on earth are you coming from? Do you even know what you are talking about? I for one don’t!

    • Gayle, I am not a liberal. Please tell me what labor did for us when they were in power. All they wanted to do was encourage young girls to have babies so they could get the baby bonus. Also when it first came out they were given to them in a lump sum. I sometimes wonder what has become of these children now.

      1 REPLY
      • Peter Costello was responsible for the baby bonus not Labor.

  3. A ” comprehensive retirement incomes review” would be a step forward in dealing with what will become an even bigger issue for future governments. Our ageing population will demand that governments at all levels place more importance on issues that effect us. Pensions and income are only part of the picture. Statistics show that the Baby Boomer generation is starting to place pressure on government resources across the board in health, welfare, housing, employment, home care and the list goes on. The welfare of older Australians is and will continue to be an issue that governments must address.
    What we do not need is negative and selfish reaction to government policy and budget expenditure. Our importance in the community and as part of Australian society will continue to be recognised by this and all future governments.

  4. what a disaster for the peace of mind of many Australians, not just older Australians this Government has been, the sooner we have an election the better

    4 REPLY
    • Mkke here-this is a lucky budget, lucky that there is an election looming. Seems the budget crisis, isn’t. Heclost me at yge beginning of his speech when he didn’t say my favourite words “I am going to alter to a more fairer system, the lurks & perks of pollies super, pensions etc”.

    • I agree, we need another election to rid both houses of recalcitrant position to everything. The Senate is an unrepresentative swill. Give the government total control to get the country back in the black.

    • mike here- he forgets that for every person whingeing about leaner pensioners the non whingers all have parents.

    • We need an election for sure as labor will pass nothing and it we will go no where again and if they just happen to get in god help us because they do not have a clue

  5. In reality, spending money to produce glossy information, assuming that using telephone and using online as gateway to help make informed decision are not the solutions! Older people especially those with no carer or family do need face to face support – the human touch, the caring and community support.

  6. Why would pensioners with modest assets who DON’T own their own home NOT get the $30 increase I wonder? Are their expenses less than those who are home owners? (and the link to the Budget doesn’t say that they are on a part pension to get that $30)

    1 REPLY
  7. Well you better not hope Bill Shitten Shorten gets in next because labor always break the country. And as for pensioners that are rich why should they be getting a half pension off govt

    2 REPLY
    • Some of the things Labor introduced include the minimum wage, forty hour week, maternity leave, long service leave, arbitration, medicare etc. Every time the Liberals and business said this will ruin the country!

      1 REPLY
    • Labor doesn’t break the country at all – the dickheads in charge do. How much are we paying to BLOCK the boats so we can tell everyone we have STOPPED the boats.

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