News Corp stories this morning claiming that it was a Coalition Government decision to increase the age at which people can access the age pension from 65 to 67 are wrong.
It was Labor that announced the increase to 67 in the 2009 Budget: http://ministers.treasury.gov.au/DisplayDocs.aspx?doc=pressreleases/2009/056.htm&pageID=003&min=wms&Year=&DocType=0
In that announcement, the then Treasurer, Wayne Swan and Minister, Jenny Macklin, said: ‘“Increasing the age pension age is a responsible reform to meet the challenge of an ageing population and the economic impact it will have for all Australians”
The National Commission of Audit found that, without policy change, the cost to taxpayers of the age pension would rise from $39.5 billion in 2013-14 to $72.3 billion in 2023-24.
By 2054-55, the number of Australians aged over 65 will more than double to 8.9 million, representing about one-fifth of the expected total population, placing enormous strain on the age pension system.
Clearly, sensible, measured reform is needed to ensure a sustainable age pension system that provides a safety net for those that require it.
Labor increased the age pension age by two years over a period of six years. Subject to legislation, we are proposing to progressively increase the age pension age over a much longer period than Labor did, from 67 to 70 years, over 10 years from 2025 to 2035. This means no one born before 1 January 1966 would be affected by the change.
These are sensible measures that reflect increases in life expectancy. People who are unable to work at any age continue to be supported under our targeted welfare safety net. Newstart Allowance assists those who are unable to secure work, and the Disability Support Pension (paid at the same rate as age pension) is available to those who can not work and who have a disability.
Our proposed changes to age pension have no impact on the preservation age at which people can access their superannuation, which is between 55 and 60, depending on when you were born.