Retirement incomes

By Terri Butler

27 September 2020

With the pension frozen, people drawing down super in the recession, and the Morrison government’s disdain for super guarantee increases, it’s a tough time for retirement incomes.

As a federal member of parliament, I have a particular interest in the superannuation system and the pension - both issues that the Commonwealth is responsible for.

People have been talking to me about super and the pension as I have been out and about in our community, and on social media.

I strongly oppose any cuts to superannuation. The Morrison government should make good on their election commitment and make sure the superannuation guarantee goes up as planned in 2021.

Given the low wages growth Australia as experiencing before the recession, and the difficulties people will face now, a rise in super could well be the only increase in remuneration that most people get.

The pension also needs addressing. Pensions are frozen at the moment. 

Usually the pension increases through indexation and benchmarking.

That means that on 20 March and 20 September each year, the pension goes up based on both the CPI, and a special cost of living index for pensioners. It’s then benchmarked against Male Total Average Weekly Earnings.

This year is the first time since 1997 that the indexation hasn’t seen an increase in the pension - in other words, we have a pension freeze. And the freeze means it will now be a whole year at the very least without pensioners seeing their payments go up.

In my electorate, the pension freeze will hurt more than 12,500 pensioners, including more than 8,500 Age Pensioners, 570 people relying on Carer Payment and more than 3,400 people receiving the Disability Support Pension.

The Morrison government needs to address this in their 2020 Budget, due in October.