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Monday 16th February 2015 - 11:23 am
Comments Off on Government “misleading” pensioners:Labor

Government “misleading” pensioners:Labor

by Alan Thornhill

Labor says Scott Morrison is “again misleading Australian pensioners” today by claiming that they will be better off as a result of changes to the deeming rates.

Mr Morrison has signaled that deeming rates for part-pensioners will be cut in a move that he said would deliver up to $200 million to hundreds of thousands of Australians.

He is expected to make a formal announcement on the proposed changes today.

However the Shadow Minister for Families and Payments, Jenny Macklin, said:”This is an irresponsible and misleading statement that cynically tries to cover up the truth.

“Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott are actually cutting the pension.

“The reality is that deeming rate changes reflect changes in the rate of returns on investments.”

Ms Macklin said governments routinely change the deeming rate to make sure that any decreases in investment returns can be offset through pension payments.

“Labor welcomes this change that ensures pensioners won’t be left out of pocket by changes in the market.”

“But claiming that pensioners will be better off is just spin from a government which lied to Australian pensioners just to get elected,” Ms Macklin said.

“Scott Morrison still has legislation before the parliament which will cut the indexation arrangement for the pension, leaving pensioners as much as $80 a week worse off within a decade,” she added.

“According to the Parliamentary Budget Office, this change will result in $23 billion less in payments to Australian Age Pensioners by 2023.”

Ms Macklin said Mr Morrison also wants to reduce the deeming rate thresholds from $46,600 to $30,000 for singles and from $77,400 to $50,000 for couple.

“This means part-pensioners will get less, and some will lose their pension altogether.”

“Today, the government is trying to suggest that it wants to help these very same pensioners,” Ms Macklin said.

“But if it really wanted to help pensioners, it would back down on its savage cuts to pension payments.

“You can’t rip $23 billion out of the pockets of pensioners one day, and then claim that you care about pensioners living standards.

“If Scott Morrison was serious about helping pensioners, he would drop his budget cuts immediately.

“Australian pensioners are sick of this government’s lies and spin,” Ms Macklin said.

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Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.

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