Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

More to receive higher pensions from September

More than two million age pensioners will receive increases in their pension payments from 20 September 2007 and an estimated 300,000 older Australians will be able to access the pension for the first time or get a higher rate of pension.

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, today announced that pensions would once again rise above inflation.

“Every six months pensions are indexed in line with the most recent six-monthly CPI increase,” Mr Brough said.

“In addition, as a result of the Howard Government’s legislation to link pensions to increases in wages, pensions will once again rise above inflation.

“The maximum single pension rate will rise by $12.60 to $537.70 a fortnight, while the maximum partnered pension rate for each member of a couple will rise by $10.60 to $449.10 a fortnight.

“As a result of linking pensions to wages the maximum single rate of pension has now risen $72.80 a fortnight above inflation ($1,892.80 a year) and the maximum rate for a couple has risen $122.60 a fortnight above inflation ($3,187.60 a year.)”

As well as the bi-annual increase in income and assets limits, changes to taper rates from 20 September will see pensions reduced by $1.50 instead of $3.00 every fortnight for each $1,000 of assets above the allowable limits for full pension.

“The change, part of the Government’s Better Superannuation reforms, will result in around 300,000 people either receiving a pension for the first time or an increase in their pension rate,” Mr Brough said.

“To further assist older Australians, the Howard Government also provided a one-off bonus of $500 to over two million senior Australians in June this year.

“Strong economic management and budget surpluses have allowed the Howard Government to clean up Labor’s $96 billion budget black hole and deliver real benefits to older Australians.

“These benefits can only be extended to older Australians if the economy is managed responsibly. This is why such dividends cannot be guaranteed by Labor. When last in power, Labor delivered budget deficits in 9 out of 13 Budgets – most of them, in the red to the tune of more than $10 billion.”

The Minister said the adjustments from 20 September also applied to people receiving the full range of Centrelink payments, such as Disability Support pension and Newstart payments (see attached table.)