Pensioners welcome a solid interim Budget

Article published 25 October 2022

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This Budget has little in the way of one-off, special measures that benefit pensioners specifically, but does deliver an earnest of the Australian Government’s intention to fix aged care”, said CPSA Policy Manager, Paul Versteege.

“CPSA welcomes $2.5 billion over 4 years to implement Aged Care Royal Commission recommendations. The actions which the Government funds in this Budget are mostly well-publicised, although some are not as well-known, such as the requirement for providers, civil penalties to protect whistle blowers and the introduction of a power to compel providers to pay compensation to care recipients where loss or damage has occurred due to neglect.

“While it is regrettable that this Budget offers no cost-of-living relief for pensioners, the most recent Age Pension indexation costs the Budget approximately $2.75 billion annually. This demonstrates the legislated pension indexation mechanisms work during this period of high inflation.

“CPSA would like to see the frequency of pension indexation increased, certainly during times of high inflation. Full rate pensioners had to find approximately $750 over the almost nine months up to September to cover cost-of-living increases. Quarterly indexation would certainly go a long way to assisting full rate pensioners in coping with price rises for essential goods and services.

“CPSA notes that since pension indexation in September last, inflation has continued and despite the substantial pension increases, especially full rate pensioners are continuing to do it tough.

“As previously announced by the Government, the pension assets test exemption for principal home sale will be increased from 12 months to 24 months for income support recipients. CPSA welcomes that only the lower deeming rate will apply to principal home sale proceeds when calculating deemed income for 24 months after sale of principal home. Arguably, the deeming rate change is of greater benefit than the time extension for the assets test exemption.

“CPSA welcomes the creation of the $10 billion in Housing Australia Future Fund to build 30,000 social and affordable homes over 5 years. This is a good start, although the size of the housing crisis is such that even a significant initiative such as this will go nowhere near solving it.”

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