Turnbull short changing our pensioners

14 Oct 2016

Malcolm Turnbull is short changing pensioners in our local community by failing to fix the unfair way that their incomes are being tested.


“Deeming rates” are used to work out how much pensioners are earning from their financial assets. The amount they earn affects how much they receive in payments.


The Government sets these deeming rates so pensioners’ investments – like term deposits and shares – are all assumed, or “deemed”, to be earning a certain percentage of income.


It doesn’t matter what the actual earnings are.


Currently, a single pensioner’s savings are deemed at 1.75 per cent on the first $49,200. Any amount over that is deemed at 3.25 per cent.


The problem is, the Abbott-Turnbull Government hasn’t changed those rates for 18 months.


That’s despite historically low interest rates, which have dropped from 2.25 per cent in February last year to 1.50 per cent last month.


Because of the low interest rates, pensioners are finding it difficult to get a decent rate of return on their savings.


There are more than 13,000 pensioners in my electorate of Rankin and almost 15,500 in Forde.


The Turnbull Government’s inaction means any financial assets they might have are unfairly being deemed to earn more than they actually are.


If this isn’t cruel enough, the Turnbull Government still wants to abolish the energy supplement for pensioners – an important concession to help with electricity costs.


If the Prime Minister gets his way, single pensioners will be $14 per fortnight worse off.


That would wipe out last month’s indexation increases of $3.20 per fortnight for single pensioners and $2.50 for couple age pensioners.


In every single budget Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull handed down, they tried to cut the pension.


And their plan to increase the retirement age to 70 means Australia would have the oldest pension age in the developed world.


Only Labor is standing up for pensioners in our local community.


First published in The Logan Reporter on 14 October 2016.

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