Pensions- Cost of Living Support for Pensioners is Crucial

The reforms that continue to be introduced by the Gillard Labor Government focus on fairness. In particular, I am proud of the governments continued support for pensioners.     

Over the coming weeks 3.5 million Australian pensioners will receive more money in their bank accounts with the increase of the aged pension and the start of the newClean Energy Supplement. People who receive the Age Pension, Disability Pension and Carer Payment, as well as veterans’ income support recipients will all receive the historic increase.

This means that single pensioners on the maximum rate will receive an added $35.80 per fortnight, while couples on the maximum rate will receive an increase of $54.00 per fortnight combined.

The government’s reforms will mean that total pension payments for people on the maximum rate will be:

·         $808.40 a fortnight for singles, and

·         $1,218.80 a fortnight for couples combined.

Furthermore, the new Clean Energy Supplement, which is part of the Household Assistance Package will be paid fortnightly with the pension from 20 March, at a rate of $13.50 per fortnight for singles and $20.40 a fortnight for couples combined.

I urge people to consider what this government has done for them and what it has been able to achieve. This government has had a history of supporting pensioners because we understand that cost of living is increasing. Moreover, pensioners deserve to be rewarded for their ongoing contribution to society, which does not simply end when they leave the workforce.

These are the reasons why the government continues to improve the Age Pension and has delivered the biggest increase to the Age Pension in more than a century.

Historically, the new Work bonus of 2009 created an incentive for pensioners to remain in the workforce without decreasing their pension entitlements. The 2011 reform extended this to allow pensioners to work part time and earn up to $6,500 from employment per annum without losing a cent from their pension. It is these types of reforms accompanied by the government’s latest announcement which shows that this Labor government is committed to the wellbeing of pensioners.

I urge people to consider what an Abbott Prime Ministership may look like and what it will mean for pensioners. Mr. Abbott and his coalition colleagues have been inconsistent in their message to pensioners, in one instance arguing that a cut to the aged pension is necessary and now as the election grows nearer they have stepped away from these earlier statements. Consequently, there would be no certainty when it comes to the Age Pension under an Abbott led government.     

The Labor government remains committed to pensioners as viewed through the government’s ongoing financial support increases and important pension reforms during its term of office.  

In real terms, the 2009 and 2011 reforms, accompanied by the new Clean Energy Supplement means that the maximum rate of the pension has increased by $207 a fortnight for singles and $236 a fortnight for couples combined over the Labor government’s last three and a half years in office. 

I am proud to be part of a government which continues to provide fairness for all Australian’s and in this case deliver support for pensioners across Launceston.