Seniors say “hands off” to Hockey and his pension changes

By on the Thursday, August 28, 2014

Senior Australians are prepared to fight for their right to the age pension.

Seniors lobby group COTA Australia has just launched a campaign, Hands off the Pension, in response to an unprecedented amount of feedback from older people worried about Treasurer Hockey’s budget promises.

COTA Australia CEO Ian Yates said seniors were most concerned by the proposed changes to indexation, effective 2017, which will link indexed increases to the consumer price index (CPI), rather than the highest rate available.

Mr Hockey insists he is not cutting pension payments, but he is not going to let them increase as they do now.

The current indexation arrangement, introduced in 2009, links pension rises to average weekly earnings, allowing pensioners to keep pace with the cost of living.

“Cutting indexation to CPI-only will mean a big and growing cut to the pension over time and will result in many pensioners spiralling into poverty, ill health and even homelessness,” Mr Yates said.

He said that if Treasurer Hockey’s model had been used since 2009, pensioners would already be receiving $30 less per week, or $1,560 less per year.

“That’s a huge amount for pensioners who already have to make choices between heating, decent food, medications and a basic gift for their grandchild’s birthday.”

COTA has motioned for the Government to withdraw the proposed changes to the pension when the Retirement Incomes Review is conducted in September.

Failing this, they will campaign for the Senate to reject all changes.

The full submission currently sits before the Senate Affairs Committee. 

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