Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Government delivers Secure and Sustainable Pension Reforms

More than 3 million age pensioners, disability pensioners, carers and wife pensioners will receive pension increases from 20 September, following passage of legislation in the Parliament today.

Australian single pensioners will receive increases of up to $32.49 a week and couples combined up to $10.14 as part of the Australian Government’s Secure and Sustainable Pension reforms.

The passage of the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Pension Reform and Other 2009 Budget Measures) Bill 2009 will deliver important reforms to Australia’s pension system.

These reforms are essential and long overdue after 12 years of inaction by the previous government.

They will improve the adequacy of the pension system, make it simpler and more responsive to pensioners’ needs and secure the sustainability of the pension system as the Australian population ages.

These reforms will deliver a stronger and fairer pension system.

The legislation delivers:

  • a $32.49 increase per week for single pensioners on the full rate, and a $10.14 increase per week combined for couples on the full rate;
  • a gradual increase in the qualifying age for the Age Pension from 65 to 67 by 2023;
  • a new Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index to reflect changes in the cost of living experienced by pensioners and beneficiary households;
  • a new Work Bonus to allow pensioners to be able to keep more of the money they earn through part time work;
  • changes to the pension income test rules to ensure the largest increases are targeted to those with the lowest incomes; and
  • changes to Family Tax Benefit indexation arrangements.

These are the most significant reforms to the pension since it was introduced 100 years ago and are a vital investment in preparing Australia for the future.

Veteran income support recipients will also receive increases from the 20 September under legislation to be introduced in the next Parliamentary session.