Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Supporting pensioners and self-funded retirees in Fowler

Joint Media Release with:

  • Chris Hayes MP, Member for Fowler

More than 27,000 pensioners and more than 500 self-funded retirees in the electorate of Fowler will receive assistance to help them do their bit to tackle climate change and look after the household budget.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and the Member for Fowler, Chris Hayes, today met with local pensioners at the Cabramatta Community Centre to discuss the Gillard Government’s plan to put a price on pollution and how household assistance will support older Australians.

Recipients of the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Service Pension and Wife Pension will receive assistance.

“The Government is taking action on climate change to put Australia in a strong position in the future for our children and grandchildren,” Ms Macklin said.

“Age pensioners and self funded retirees have worked hard all their lives to make Australia the great nation it is today. We want to help them with household expenses as we go about cutting carbon pollution.”

Ms Macklin said all pensions will increase by $338 per year for singles and $510 per year for couples combined to help older Australians deal with extra costs in their budgets.

“This means that after the impact of the carbon price is taken into account, pensioner households will have, on average, $210 more in their pockets.”

Every senior who relies solely on the age pension and 90 per cent of all seniors who receive a part pension will receive a buffer that is at least 20 per cent more than their average price impact.

Self-funded retirees over the age of 65 with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card will benefit from the same assistance as age pensioners.

Self-funded retirees without a concession card may benefit from tax cuts. This equates to more than $300 for a single retiree on an income of $55,000 and more than $600 for a retiree couple jointly receiving $85,000.

Self-funded retirees who do not pay tax and do not receive a pension may be eligible for an annual $300 Low Income Supplement.

“We will ensure that older Australians have money in their pockets upfront,” Mr Hayes said.

“To help local pensioners and eligible self-funded retirees get ready for the carbon price, we will provide the first nine months worth of their increased pension payments in a lump sum payment before it starts on 1 July 2012.”

This commitment for comes on top of a number of important measures the Australian Government has already delivered to support pensioners, including:

  • Increasing pensions by $128 per fortnight for single pensioners on the maximum rate and a $116 per fortnight increase for maximum rate pensioner couples.
  • Increasing the Utilities Allowance (now part of a new increased Pension Supplement) by around $400 per year.
  • Delivering a new system of pension indexation – the new Pensioner Living Cost index – which ensures that pensions keep pace with pensioners’ living costs.
  • Ensuring that age pensioners who work can keep up to $6,500 extra per year through our new expanded Seniors Work Bonus.
  • Introducing reciprocal transport arrangements to ensure pensioners with state seniors’ cards can benefit from public transport concessions when travelling interstate.

Mr Hayes said the Government has a clear expectation that public housing rents will not be affected by extra payments.

“The new payment assistance is being delivered through supplements, which are traditionally excluded from public housing rent assessments.

“The Prime Minister has written to the NSW Government seeking their agreement to permanently exclude the Clean Energy Supplement from public housing rent assessments.”