Services like Centrelink and Medicare have achieved huge cost savings by moving online. However, accessing services online comes at a cost to pensioners and other low income households. The creation of an Internet Supplement would help pensioners keep up in a digital world.
In the process of the automatisation of the customer interface, costs have been shifted away from agencies and onto customers.
To keep up the increasing number of essential services being provided online, pensioners need to connect to the internet. This also means they have to buy a computer and pay internet connection fees where previously services were delivered at no cost to pensioners.
Many pensioners struggle to pay for a computer and for connection charges. Some simply can’t afford it.
Pensioners used to receive a Telephone Allowance. In 2009, the Telephone Allowance was rolled into the Pension Supplement and became invisible, but it’s still there.
Many pensioners retain a telephone service through the NBN. While the old Telephone Allowance still assists pensioners with the cost of their internet landline they now face additional costs associated with using the internet to manage their affairs.
The creation of an Internet Supplement would help pensioners keep up in a digital world.
It is only reasonable to use some of the savings made by Government agencies by moving online to pay low-income households compensation for the additional costs they now have to deal with agencies such as Centrelink, Medicare and a host of essential services such as electricity retailers and local government.