Labor calling for an end to the Morrison government's pension freeze

By Terri Butler MP

23 September 2020

This September, for the first time in almost a quarter of a century, pensions will not be increased through indexation.

The pension freeze will hurt more than 12,500 Southside 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.

In March and September each year, pensioners would ordinarily expect an increase to their payments which are adjusted to meet increases in costs and living expenses.

It is wrong for the Prime Minister to snatch money out of the pockets of pensioners when the country is in recession. The Government should be supporting local jobs, businesses and pensioners.
 
It will now be a whole year – at the very least – without pensioners seeing their payments indexed.
 
The Government will say this is because of the way the pension indexation is calculated – both the Consumer Price Index and Pension Costs Index were negative.
 
But this explanation will be of little comfort to pensioners who have seen costs and uncertainty increase, while returns on their savings stagnate.
 
These aren’t ordinary times.
 
Pensioners have been facing rising health, dental, energy and grocery bills for years. Average GP out-of-pocket costs alone have gone up by $11 under this Government.
 
And the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables has increased by over 5 per cent in the last six months.
 
Interest rates are also at record lows. Pensioners with modest savings face a double whammy.
 
This might not seem like a big impact to someone like the Prime Minister, but it makes a real difference to pensioners.
 
Pensioners are financially prudent, and many Southsiders rely on indexation to balance their household budgets.

Labor is calling on the Morrison Government to immediately end its freeze of the pension – to help pensioners balance their budgets and support jobs and local businesses.
 
Southsiders can sign the petition calling on the Prime Minister to end his pension freeze at: www.alp.org.au/endthepensionfreeze.