Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

National Day for Older Australians

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, has today acknowledged National Day for Older Australians, a time to celebrate the contribution senior Australians have made and continue to make in our communities.

“To recognise the important contribution they make, the Howard Government has, in recent times, announced a series of initiatives to assist older people,” Mr Brough said.

“The most recent announcement was that two million age pensioners received increases in their pension payments from 20 September 2007 – as a result of indexation in line with the Howard Government’s legislation to link pensions to increases in wages.

“As part of the Howard Government’s Better Super reforms, 300,000 older Australians can now access the pension for the first time or get a higher rate of pension.

“To further assist older Australians, we also provided a one-off bonus of $500 to over two million senior Australians in June this year, a way to acknowledge them for helping create economic prosperity for this country.

“It was also a way to ensure that older Australians directly benefited from the Howard Government’s strong economic management and budget surpluses.

“We spend more on the Age Pension than any other single program – estimated at $24 billion, this is double what Labor spent when last in office.

The Howard Government also extended its arrangement with Great Southern Railway to include the Alice Springs to Darwin sector, and will continue to provide concessions to pensioners, certain veterans and Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card holders.

“Further benefits to seniors can only be extended if the economy remains strong and budget surpluses are delivered. When Labor was last in power 9 out of 13 budgets were in deficit. Labor delivered $69 billion worth of deficit in the last 5 years alone.

“Seniors have made a significant contribution to our economy and with a strong economy the Howard Government will continue to support them in their retirement.”