Australian Greens' Dissenting Report
The Australian Greens cannot support the Majority Report of this
Committee inquiry. The inquiry heard overwhelming evidence of the negative
impacts that the measures in these Bills would have. The recommendation of the
Majority Report that the Bills be passed cannot be justified by the evidence
given to the Committee and we can only conclude that the Majority report
conclusions are based on ideology rather than on evidence.
These Bills contain some of the Government's cruellest measures in the
budget, and will take billions of dollars out of our social security system,
adversely affecting low income and vulnerable Australians.
The proposals in the Bills before this Committee contain some
of the most significant changes to the Australian system of income support
since it was first introduced in a consolidated Social Security Act in 1947.
The radical changes being proposed will severely impact on disadvantaged
Australians. The Senate inquiry heard repeatedly of the negative and
potentially dangerous effect of these budget measures:
We cannot agree with measures that will drive people even
deeper into poverty, above all in an environment where there simply aren’t
enough jobs for the numbers of people looking for work. The Society strongly
opposes these measures in the Bills.
The cumulative impact of these measures on people was of concern to many
of the submitters to the inquiry, especially the impact on older Australians,
under 30’s, people with a disability, families, and particularly single parent
These Bills contain a wide range of measures which have complex
interactions with each other, and with other measures proposed in other Bills.
Overwhelmingly, these interactions mean that the harshest reductions to income
are felt by the more vulnerable social security recipients and low income
There are a number of measures in these Bills which will significantly
affect older Australians. The Australian Greens are particularly concerned with
changes to indexation, and increasing the eligibility age for the aged pension.
These changes will increase inequality and reduce quality of life for older
Australians. COTA, National Seniors and A Fair Go for Pensioners all had similar
concerns over these measures:
The breadth of announcements made within the 2014‐2015 Federal budget
will greatly affect the capacity of older Australians to cope with everyday
living costs, significantly disrupt already overstretched household budgets and
impede the health and welfare of older Australians.
The under 30’s budget measure, which subjects under 30’s to no income
support for six months a year has received the most criticism, and was one of
the key concerns of many of the submitters:
We believe that the changes proposed in the Social Services
Amendment Bill will be damaging, ineffective and counterproductive to the
policy objective of assisting young people into full time, productive
This punitive measure will push people into poverty and make it harder for
people to transition to work:
The overarching problem with these Bills is that rather than
addressing the problems of inadequacy of income support, and the need for real
incentives and support into work, many of the measures will:
increase disincentives to work; and
undermine the current and proposed
supports for jobseekers.
Submitters agreed that this measure would be harmful and ineffective in
supporting young people into employment.
People with Disabilities
These Bills include several measures that will negatively impact people
with disability. The reduction in the portability of the disability support
pension (DSP) to only four weeks a year has caused great concern in the
community, and the Committee has received a number of submissions on the issue.
This is a punitive approach that seeks to demonise and marginalise people with
a disability, the re-assessment of those under 35 on the DSP is also of great
Measures implemented through this budget will impact disproportionately
on those already suffering financial hardship, compounded by the numerous
systemic and societal barriers people with disability face every day.
There are a number of measures in the Bills that will significantly
impact on low income families and particularly on single parent families who
will be worse off under these changes. In particular we are concerned about
altering the method for indexing parenting payments and the compounded effect
of the multiple changes to Family Tax Benefit will have on low income families:
All of the 220,000 Parenting Payment Single recipients will
be negatively affected by the proposed indexation arrangements and the changes
to Family Tax Benefit A and B, while 17,500 single parents currently on payments
will be affected by the cessation of the Pensioner Education Supplement. While
a supplement will be introduced for single parents, it will not make up for the
loss of payment, and there is no supplement for low income couples.
Social Services and Other
Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 1) Bill 2014
Schedule 1: Cease payment of the
seniors supplement for holders of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or the
Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card.
The Australian Greens support appropriate targeting of payments and
supplements, currently the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) is not well
targeted. There are approximately 290,000 people who receive the Seniors
Health Care Card and approximately 30,000 receive the Veteran’s Gold Card. The
removal of the supplement would reduce their annual incomes by $876 per annum
for singles or $660 each for partnered people. Most would have incomes close to
the pension thresholds of $50,000 for singles and $80,000 for couples. They
would have financial assets worth over $759,000 for singles or $1,127,000 for
couples, in addition to the value of their home. Given that most would fall
within the top 20% of households over 65 years of age, this measure is very
unlikely to cause financial hardship.
The Australian Greens could support the proposed changes to ceasing the
seniors supplement. Organisation like the National Welfare Rights Network and
Australian Council of Social Services also expressed support for this measure:
This measure would improve the targeting and future
sustainability of the social security system as the population ages. It is hard
to justify cash payments to couples with over a million dollars in financial
Schedule 2: Rename the clean energy
supplement as the energy supplement, and permanently cease indexation of the
The Greens vehemently opposed the dismantling of the Clean Energy
package. The carbon price was demonstrated as an effective mechanism to reduce
emissions and moving Australia to a more sustainable, secure energy future
while protecting the most vulnerable Australians against energy price rises.
This measure of renaming the clean energy supplement indicates once
again that this government is only interested in ideology.
Schedule 3: Pause indexation for
three years of the income free areas and assets value limits for all working
age allowances (other than student payments), and the income test free area and
assets value limit for parenting payment single.
This measure will mean that payments are not able to keep in line with
changes in cost of living; it is a petty measure that targets those that can
least afford it and will have a detrimental effect on supporting people to find
Freezing free areas reduces incentives to work and are at odds
with the governments other policies ostensibly aimed at encouraging people into
Index parenting payment single to
the Consumer Price Index only, by removing benchmarking to Male Total Average
Changes to indexation for pension payments are one of the most insidious
of the proposed measures. For aged and disability pensions this is delayed
until after the next election but single parents will receive the cuts this
year. Single parents have faced cut after cut, this change will see further
reductions to their payments. This will push them and their children further
Figures reveal that 24.1% of children living in one-parent
households are in poverty. By contrast 7.6% of children with two parents are
experiencing poverty. The 2013 report warned that “children under the care of
just one parent are three times more likely than other children to live in
It is vitally important that the Single Parent Payment indexation
appropriately reflects the cost of living:
...indexation should reflect the annual cost increases and
living pressures as experienced by families. Therefore, we ask the Committee to
decline the proposal that would reduce indexation to that of the lower Consumer
Pause indexation for three years of
several family tax benefit free areas.
The support that Family Tax Benefit offers low income families is very
important and any changes must take into consideration the impact that they
will have on the families and children who rely on them:
We believe the family payment system is absolutely vital. It
is not part of middle-class welfare, it is a very important corollary to
protect families from poverty. When we have the minimum wage system which is
13:27 the adequacy of the minimum wage for a single person, family payments are
vital in covering the adequacy for families that have children within them.
Freezing indexations for three years will have a negative impact on low
income families. During the inquiry it became clear that the large number of
changes proposed to family tax benefits made it difficult to see what the
overall result for families would be:
Many of these freezes have complex interactions for people
when stacking of income tests occurs. The result of this is that people who are
subject to more income tests will be disproportionately impacted by freezes to
thresholds. These need to be considered in the context of complex interactions
with other measures also, such as the abolition of the Pensioner Education
Schedule 4: From 1 July 2014 review
disability support pension recipients under age 35 against revised impairment
tables and apply the Program of Support requirements.
While we agree that people with disability who have some capacity to
work should be supported and assisted to enter the workforce we do not support
this blunt instrument and are deeply concerned about the impact of moving
people off DSP onto a lower working age allowance:
The removal of income is a very worrying move. People with a
disability and young people on Newstart, risk losing significant income as a
result of these changes. Indeed, a single 23-year-old on a disability pension,
living out of home, who finds themselves reassessed as a jobseeker and put onto
youth allowance, will go from an allowance of $383 a week14 to just $207 a
People with disability face many barriers to finding and staying in work
and this measure will be yet another barrier. There were other concerns raised
in the inquiry process about this measure. UnitingCare Australia said:
We support best practice in assessment and support for people
with disabilities, however we are concerned that the age-specific removal of
the current grandfathering clause is not based on a consideration of the most
effective ways to support people with disability, does not treat all recipients
equally, and is not grounded in evidence about what works.
Schedule 5: Limit the six-week
overseas portability period for student payments.
This measure limits portability of payments in regards to students
undertaking eligible medical treatment or to attend an acute family crisis. It
is another example of a Government intent on humiliating and punishing people.
People may need to travel overseas for a variety of reasons and each case
should be taken on its merits.
National Union of Students was also concerned about the administrative
issues around this measure and wanted to express concern if students were made
to re-apply for payments if they were overseas for more than 6 weeks.
Schedule 6: Extend and simplify the
ordinary waiting period for all working age payments.
For people without access to income and support networks, waiting
periods for payment can place them into serious financial distress. Additional
waiting periods do not make sense when other waiting periods are already in
place, this measure is about saving money not helping people:
The changes proposed to the Ordinary Waiting Period (OWP) are
not really about simplification. Actually, the Bill extends the waiting period
to new payment types and introduces new evidentiary requirements and thereby
effectively set a higher bar for waiver of the waiting period. For all the
Government’s emphasis on “simplification”, the obvious simplification measure
has been overlooked. A true simplification measure would be to abolish this
waiting period, which is not necessary given the existence of the Liquid Assets
This Government also fails to understand working life realities for a
lot of Australians that include insecure, casual and seasonal work. We require
a better targeted social security system that can respond effectively to needs
around employment patterns that include all different types of employment. This
measure could have particular impact on single parents and women:
Our other worry with that measure, and particularly its
extension to parenting payment, is the potential impact on women escaping
domestic violence. Women in those circumstances really need money quickly and
if they are put through some kind of complex hardship tests to receive payment
urgently then, unfortunately, some may lose the opportunity to escape from very
Schedule 7: Maintain the family tax
benefit Part A and family tax benefit Part B standard payment rates for two
Family payments play an important role in supporting low income families
in Australia, the significance of these payments was made clear by ACOSS during
Our family payment system performs two vital social and
economic roles – helping prevent child poverty and treating low and middle
income families with children fairly by taking account of the costs of raising
children in the tax transfer system.
The pausing of these payments will mean that low income families will
have lower payments:
Low-income families are also impacted: freezing FTB part A
and part B rates for two years will result in lower payments to lower income
families. Once again the budget is withdrawing vital support for the most
vulnerable families and children and we believe this will have a direct impact
on the increase in child poverty rates in Australia.
Social and Community Services Pay
Equity Special Account
Schedule 8 to the Bill will add the Western Australian Industrial
Relations Commission decision of 29 August 2013 as a pay equity decision under
the Social and Community Services Pay Equity Special Account Act 2012, allowing
payment of Commonwealth supplementation to service providers affected by the
The Australian Greens support this important measure and are disappointed
that it has been included within this Bill as it is not a budget measure and
should not be confused with the cruel budget measures proposed.
Social Services and Other
Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014
Implements the following changes to
Australian Government payments:
Schedule 1: Indexation for three
years of the income free areas and assets value limits for student payments,
including the student income bank limits;
Pause indexation for three years of
the income and assets test free areas for all pensioners (other than parenting
payment single) and the deeming thresholds for all income support payments; and
Reset the social security and
veterans’ entitlements income test deeming thresholds to $30,000 for single
income support recipients, $50,000 combined for pensioner couples, and $25,000
for a member of a couple other than a pensioner couple.
Again the government is going after small savings that mean little to
the budget bottom line and enormous difference to the people living on it, this
measure will disproportionately affect those with a few assets. This measure is
also premature and has not been discussed with stakeholders and the community:
This measure does nothing to address some of the
distributional issues across the older population. There needs to be a
community discussion around what constitutes high income and high assets and
what assets should be included in that calculation. Often we think of all older
people as being the same but in terms of wealth and income this is clearly not
The changes to deeming thresholds could have significant impact on
pensioners and self-funded retires on a low income:
If legislated, the reduction of deeming thresholds to $30,000
for single pensioners and self-funded retirees on lower incomes (currently
$48,000) and $50,000 for couples (currently $79,600) will reduce eligibility
and access to the age pension from 2017. It is estimated that more than 500,000
age pensioners and self-funded retirees on low incomes will be affected by this
The Australian Greens agree with COTA that a review of retirement
incomes needs to be undertaken and subsequent changes made as part of a
holistic and considered approach to retirement income:
COTA has been, and is, urging the government
to hold a retirement incomes review that covers pensions, superannuation and
taxation in retirement in an inclusive and interconnected way, including
consideration of asset and income testing, the preservation age and so on. We
are asking that the pension changes be halted, be frozen, until that retirement
incomes review is complete. We believe it could be done by the end of next
year, so it certainly can happen within the time frame of these changes anyway.
Ensure all pensions are indexed to
the Consumer Price Index only, by removing: benchmarking to Male Total Average
Weekly Earnings; indexation to the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index
Proposed changes to the indexation of pensions is one of the most
concerning aspects in the Bills, this is a fundamental change to the pension
system and will drastically effect the viability and adequacy of pensions in
coming years. Currently the highest of CPI, Pensioner and Beneficiary Cost of
Living Index, or Male Total Average Weekly Earnings are used to determine the
increase in the pension. Using only CPI will have significant impacts on the
value of the pension and affect pensioner’s standard of living:
While pensions would still increase as prices rise, they will
increase more slowly. After 10 years, ACOSS estimates that single pensioners
will be $80 per week worse off than they would be under current arrangements.
Community living standards improve with increases in wages, but the living
standards of those on pensions will fall behind.
Appropriate indexation of payments is vital to ensure that payments
reflect increases in the cost of living. The Newstart Allowance is a clear
example of a payment that has fallen behind the real cost of living because it
is indexed inadequately by CPI. This point was raised by many submitters and
The Society has consistently advocated that the indexation of
payments is essential, and that the indexation must be adequate. When payments
are not indexed at all, or their indexation is paused, by definition their real
value, and the amount of benefit that they bring people, will decrease each
CPI is not an adequate tool to determine indexation for a number of
reasons, primarily because it does not reflect the rising cost of living for
those on a low income as ACOSS argues:
If you do not index these payments to wages—and we are open
to discussion about which wages measure is appropriate—than those at the bottom
will inevitably fall behind the rest of the community. That is what happened
with Newstart, that is what will happen with pensions if this goes through and
it is what has also been happening with family payments since 2009, when indexation
of that payment was frozen.
These changes will have an unacceptable impact on the income and quality
of life for pensioners.
Schedule 2: Generally limit the
overseas portability period for disability support pension to 28 days in a
12-month period from 1 January 2015.
The further reduction of the portability of the disability support
pension to four weeks is petty and unfounded; it is another way for the
government to punish vulnerable people. Australia is a multicultural country,
many people have family and obligations overseas, it means that if you are not
lucky enough to have your family reside in Australia you cannot see them for
extended periods of time:
The proposed legislation which will limit the portability to
4 weeks in a 12 month period will force us to break the bond between our
families, and leave our elderly parents without any family support.
Many people on disability support pension save up for many years to be
enable them to travel, if they are limited to only 28 days it may be a long
time before they are able to save the money to go overseas again. This is a
petty and punitive measure focused on demonising and demoralising those who
receive income support by denying access to a decent quality of life.
There were many submissions from individuals, who were very concerned
with the impact that this measure would have.
Schedule 3: Exclude from the social
security and veterans’ entitlements income test any payments made under the new
Young Carer Bursary Programme from 1 January 2015.
The Australian Greens believe that we need greater supports for young
carers and welcome this assistance, however we note that this a small support
in a broader set of brutal cuts that will see carers and those they care for
Schedule 4: Include untaxed
superannuation income in the assessment for the Commonwealth Seniors Health
Card (with products purchased before 1 January 2015 by existing cardholders
exempt from the new arrangements), and extend from six to 19 weeks the
portability period for cardholders.
The Australian Greens support the changes to the treatment of superannuation
income for CHSC. However we are concerned that existing recipients are
grandfathered and will not be subjected to this measure, they could be earning
significant amounts from their super which is not included in the assessment
UnitingCare Australia supports this change because we believe
superannuation tax concessions are poorly targeted. Secondly, we support the
streamlining of income and assets tests.
Schedule 5: Remove relocation
scholarship assistance for students relocating within and between major cities.
We are concerned about the impact of these measures and support the
position of the National Union of Students:
The National Union of Students submits that these upfront
relocation costs exist not just for those moving to or from regional areas.
They are costs that students relocating from major metropolitan area to major
metropolitan area must contend with as much as rural and regional students.
Schedule 6: Cease pensioner
education supplement from 1 January 2015.
Schedule 7: Cease the education
entry payment from 1 January 2015.
If the government is invested in the study and training of people on
income support, ceasing the pensioner education supplement and the education
entry payment makes no sense. Cancelling the PES reduce access to education for
some of the most disadvantaged members of our community. The supplement is an
important support in helping older Australians, single parents and people on
disability support pension access educational opportunities, the changes were
widely criticised by submissions to the inquiry from a range of organisations:
Over 41,000 people will lose between $811 and $1,622 per year
(depending on their study load) from the cessation of the Pensioner Education
Supplement resulting in people currently receiving this payment being unable to
pay education and other related costs.
UnitingCare Australia considers that measures that encourage
people on income support to undertake education and training should be
The ATN [Australian Technology Network of Universities] advises
against the removal of the Pensioner Education Supplement where it is paid to
support the education of those on Carer Payments, Disability Support Pensions
and Veterans Affairs Payments.
Schedule 8: Extend youth allowance
(other) to 22 to 24 year olds in lieu of Newstart allowance and sickness
Newstart is widely acknowledged as inadequate and condemns people to
living in poverty. Forcing young people off Newstart onto an even more
inadequate payment will drive them deeper into poverty and will be yet another
barrier to employment:
YACSA [Youth Affairs Council of South Australia] opposes
raising the age at which a young person can access Newstart Allowance from 22
to 25 years. This change will increase existing levels of hardship as young people
will now have to wait three more years to access a higher rate of allowance.
Schedule 9: Require young people
with full capacity to learn earn or Work for the Dole from 1 January 2015.
This is the most controversial measure proposed in these Bills, it is
untenable to condemn people under the age of 30 to 6 months without any income
support. This measure was met with alarm across the board:
Our deepest concerns with the current bills are associated
with the measures for young people. We strongly oppose the suspension of
eligibility for income support for six months in each year and then forcing
young into work for the dole.
For the Society, this suggestion has been one of the most
troubling elements of the Budget. We find very concerning the idea that the
government would intentionally remove any semblance of a social safety net for
a particular group of people.
As the peak representative body for Australian undergraduate
students, the National Union of Students submits that the current budgetary proposal
included in the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget
Measures No. 2) Bill 2014 to quarantine unemployment benefits of Australians
under 30 for six months would be devastating to graduates across the country. 
The Abbott Government's attitude to employment for young people is one
that assumes jobs are readily available for all young people, that if a person
is unemployed then it is their fault. This assumption ignores the reality of
the current labour market. The Government thinks that by making life unbearable
for young jobseekers they will force them into work. Rather than help young
people into employment these measures will condemn them to live in poverty,
they will need to spend their time worrying about their next meal and
accommodation which will make job seeking even harder.
Workforce exclusion is both complex and enduring, particularly for those
people who are disadvantaged. Denying access to income support to job seekers
aged under 30 for more than six months, and then subject them to work for the
dole regimes and strict compliance requirements will not address this. Living
on nothing will only compound existing disadvantage and drive people further
into poverty, while worsening the factors contributing to their workforce
exclusion. The Government is ignoring the realities of youth unemployment, the
mounting evidence against their approach and what should be done to help young
The Australian Greens are also concerned about the implications of
extending a youth group to include up to 30 year olds:
I think we should correctly refer to it as the 'youth and
under 30s measure'. But a shift regarding people between the age of 25 and 30
years of age as 'youth' or 'young people' is a new thing...It has been referred to
by some as infantilising those people.
The effect that this measure will have on young people is profound, a
fact that appears to have been anticipated by the Department for Social
Not surprisingly the potential for increased hardship under
these new requirements has also been noted by the Department for Social
Services who expects that there will be approximately 500,000 young people who
are impacted negatively by the proposed changes. As you would know, the
Department for Social Services recently told a Senate Estimates Committee that
the 2014 budget includes around $230 million to assist those affected by the
changes to welfare with food, utility bills, and other subsistence services.
The inquiry heard evidence from a number of witnesses about creating and
supporting programs that helped young people into employment. The need for a
new approach was emphasized, with a focus on:
Balance a significant investment in
young people’s capabilities with high expectations...
intervene rapidly and early to
motivate and inspire engagement and ensure young people can achieve their best
provide careers and vocational guidance and coaching by
trained staff, to support young people to develop employability skills and
address barriers to work and learning
engage with employers– so that young people can develop
employability and vocational skills in ‘real’ work environments...
Schedule 10: Implement the
following family payment reforms:
Limit the family tax benefit Part A
large family supplement to families with four or more children;
Remove the family tax benefit Part
A per child add on to the higher income free area for each additional child
after the first; and
Revise the family tax benefit
end-of-year supplements to their original values and cease indexation.
The Family Tax Benefit is relied on by families and is an essential
support for families on a low income. Any changes must be done carefully and
with a full understanding of the impact on families and particularly children.
The end of year supplements is very important in a family being able to afford
larger occasional items:
The reconciling of end of year supplement is factored into
household budgets and provides a much required capacity to enable families to
pay those large costs that often cannot be met within the weekly budget. Such
items may include outstanding school fees, car registration, and replacement of
household appliances. The measure that seeks to ‘revise’ (reduce) the
end-of-year supplements to their original values and ceasing indexation should
not proceed. We urge the committee to understand the particular importance of
the end of year supplements for struggling families and reject this proposal.
Improve targeting of family tax
benefit Part B by reducing the primary earner income limit from $150,000 a year
to $100,000 a year
We need a well targeted social security net that supports those who need
it most. However in the current context of changes to family benefits we have
grave concerns about hitting families with another cut:
We have supported increased targeting of family tax benefits
over a number of years when previous governments had made those changes, but
those changes were done pretty much as discrete changes, not packaged as a
range of other nips and tucks to the assistance which was going to families,
whether it be one or two parents or the family unit as a whole. There were also
not other costs unrelated to these Bills like, perhaps, home medical costs,
co-payments and things like that coming in. We agonised over this issue and had
a lot of discussion and debate within our network about whether we would take
this view, because if it were in isolation we would support this reform.
Limit family tax benefit Part B to
families with children under six years of age, with transitional arrangements
applying to current recipients with children above the new age limit for two
The Australian Greens are very concerned about changes to FTB that affect
single parents. Limiting, reducing and or denying access to Family Tax Benefit
Part B will mean that parents do not have assistance when they need it the
most. Single parents have been targeted by successive governments and this is
yet another measure that reduces their income and makes it harder to support
their families. The supplement proposed by Government to compensate for loss of
FTB does not adequately compensate them:
UnitingCare Australia opposes the policy of withdrawing
benefits six years earlier than presently, because low-income families need
this support. We are concerned that the transitional measures and new allowance
will still leave low-income families, especially single parent families,
Introduce a new allowance for
single parents on the maximum rate of family tax benefit Part A for each child
aged six to 12 years inclusive, and not receiving family tax benefit Part B.
While there is some support offered in this measure it is not enough to
offset the financial hardship that single parents will be placed in because of
the other measures in this budget.
Schedule 11: Increase the
qualifying age for age pension, and the non-veteran pension age, to 70,
increasing by six months every two years.
Australia does need to consider our ageing population, how we support
people as they age, retirement income and retirement age. Instead of taking a
considered, consultative approach the Government has made a decision to raise
the age of retirement, as if it can be made without addressing the structural
issues. Raising the retirement age without addressing issues like age discrimination,
the increasing number of older Australians out of work and on Newstart and
retirement income means that many older Australians will be condemned to live
longer on Newstart in poverty.
We will not support the dumping of older Australians on to a lower
payment to save the government some money and let older Australians linger on
There is little point in increasing the eligibility age for
the pension until there are jobs for older people. Otherwise this measure is
just consigning a growing number of older Australians to living on lower levels
of income support for longer.
While it is true that Australians are living longer that does not mean
that they are able to work for longer:
However, increases in life expectancy do
not necessarily equal increases in healthy years of life. The evidence is
mixed on whether we are achieving longer healthier lives or rather longer lives
with increasing periods of ill health and disability. This obviously impacts on
the capacity to work.
Older workers face discrimination in the workplace, and there are
structural changes, and better supports that need to be put in place before we
raise the retirement age:
The Organisation for Economic Co‐operation and Development (OECD) 2013
figures show that Australia’s mature age (age 55 to 64) workforce participation
rates, at 63.6 per cent, fall behind other OECD countries including New Zealand
(77), Sweden (77.1), Switzerland (72), Japan (68.2), Germany (65.4) USA (64.5)
and Canada (63.8)5. National Seniors does not support an increase to the age
pension age while there is still no progress on mature age employment. Any
pension age increases must come with bold initiatives, driven by government,
that engage with, and shift the attitudes of, both business and the community.
We welcome the committee’s recommendation that the Government look at a
retirement review and share COTA’s view that:
...the age pension is one part of a multifaceted retirement
incomes landscape and that all should be considered in any reform process as,
for example, superannuation tax concessions are comparable to the cost of the
pension but inequitably distributed.
Schedule 12: Remove the three
months’ backdating of disability pension under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act
The Australian Greens are concerned that this measure will impact
negatively on people with disability, who are likely to be in very vulnerable
positions and this would place further burden in what is likely to be a difficult
time for them. This is yet another punitive measure aimed at people with
That Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget
Measures No. 1) Bill 2014 and Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment
(2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014 not be passed.
That the Government introduce a separate bill including the changes to
the Commonwealth Senior Health Card, the Seniors Supplement and the Young
Carer’s Bursary measure and the Social and Community Services Pay Equity
Special Account measure.
Senator Rachel Siewert
Senator for Western Australia
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