‘Four percent, does it matter to people? Absolutely not’

With every second voter in Australia over the age of 50 and four million Aussies in the retirement phase of their lives, many of our seniors have been keeping a close eye on what’s on offer from Canberra.

While there has been a pension increase, some have questioned the benefits.

Financial expert Joel Gibson said that while the 4 percent increase is the biggest wage increase in 12 years, it doesn’t even go far enough to match inflation.

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Financial expert Joel Gibson said that while the 4 percent increase is the biggest wage increase in 12 years, it doesn't even go far enough to match inflation.
Financial expert Joel Gibson said that while the 4 percent increase is the biggest wage increase in 12 years, it doesn’t even go far enough to match inflation. (A current affair)

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“Four percent, will it make a difference to people? Is it going to solve the problem? Absolutely not,” Gibson told A Current Affair.

National Seniors’ Ian Henschke said the pension increase is only part of the six-month increase being made to take into account the cost of living.

“I think the government could consider raising the pension every three months instead of every six months when we have runaway inflation because it helps people more with the cost of living and this latest increase is a good because people really need it,” Henschke said.

National Seniors' Ian Henschke said the pension increase is only part of the six-month increase being made to take into account the cost of living.
National Seniors’ Ian Henschke said the pension increase is only part of the six-month increase being made to take into account the cost of living. (A current affair)

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National Seniors have campaigned to allow retirees to work longer without losing their benefits.

The government has now agreed to allow retirees to earn an additional $4,000 from December this fiscal year.

But Gibson said the change will hardly “scratch the surface” because it “will only take about six months.”

Many seniors have been keeping a close eye on what Canberra has to offer.
Many seniors have been keeping a close eye on what Canberra has to offer. (A current affair)

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“Compare that with New Zealand where you can see that 25 percent of retirees do some work — in Australia it’s 15 percent — and that tells you everything you need to know about what’s wrong with our policy institutions,” Gibson said. .

“We have 5000 vacancies, so we say for the next two years, why not adopt the NZ system, where you just work and pay taxes?” Henschke added.

What many older Aussies are talking about is the Albanian government’s plan to encourage empty nesters to downsize and free up larger homes for younger families.

If it passes parliament, they plan to give retirees a two-year exemption from the asset test, which they would normally have to undergo when selling real estate, if they collect part of the pension.

“It gives people a little extra time to maybe build a new home and renovate and it’s likely to tip the balance in favor of downsizing for some who are already thinking about it,” Gibson said.

What many older Aussies are talking about is the Albanian government's plan to encourage empty nesters to downsize and free up larger homes for younger families.
What many older Aussies are talking about is the Albanian government’s plan to encourage empty nesters to downsize and free up larger homes for younger families. (A current affair)

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Henschke said the retirement income system is quite complicated where it stands now.

“Even this downsizing policy is quite complicated,” he said.

“What we are proposing to the government is that if you are 80 years old and you have a home care package, you should be able to downsize without it affecting your pension.”

Now there is also the Prime Minister’s pledge to cut the cost of more drugs available under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme or PBS, which could also save retirees more money.

“They estimate it’s a $300 savings if you fill two scripts a month. A lot of people fill a lot more scripts than that month, so I think this one is significant,” Gibson said.

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