Budget 2018: A Fizzer for Older Australians
“All in all, for older Australians, Budget 2018 does not live up to the hype that preceded its release. Measures related to aged care, the Pension Loans Scheme and Work Bonus are minor”, said CPSA Policy Coordinator Paul Versteege.
“While it is clear that the Government has an increased focus on keeping people out of nursing homes, the 14,000 additional home care packages over four years announced in Budget 2018 should be seen against a background of approximately 74,000 consumers who have a package and 104,000 consumers who are waiting for one. The Home Care Package waiting list is starting to look like a promise on the never-never.”
“The Pension Loans Scheme is currently small and will remain small with an expected additional take-up by no more than 6,000 people. The Pension Loans Scheme is a Government-backed home equity release scheme and like all such schemes it limits the ability of people to downsize or move. Home equity release is a last-resort option for older people to raise money.
“CPSA welcomes the increase in the Work Bonus from $250 a fortnight to $300. Work Bonus was introduced in 2009, and it was overdue for an increase. CPSA calls for half-yearly indexation of Work Bonus, to ensure that pensioners who work continue to have an incentive to do so.”
“CPSA is disappointed that the Government has not dropped its plans to raise the pension age to 70, to close the Energy Supplement for new entrants and to cut the Pension Supplement if a pensioner spends longer than six weeks overseas.”
“CPSA calls for a significant increase in the Newstart and related allowances. Newstart is the payment many older Australians who have not yet reached pension age rely on. Spending $190 million over five years on doubtful employment training programs for older Australians ignores the misery of tens of thousands of older Australians having to live on $40 a day.”
“The Budget is virtually silent on housing affordability. CPSA is disappointed that there was no commitment to increase social housing or address the inadequacy of Rent Assistance.”