“Pensioners however do welcome the investment in health”.
“Work incentives are good for those pensioners who are able to and want to work, but the vast majority of pensioners are permanently out of the workforce, either because of their age or disability”.
Disability Support Pension changes
Allowing Disability Support Pensioners to work up to 30 hours per week before losing the pension will remove the disincentive to work put in place by Howard’s Welfare to Work reforms.
But it’s unlikely to result in a big shift off the Disability Support Pension given participation rates for these pensioners have sat at just 10 per cent for years and discrimination against people with disability is alive and well in the workplace.
The 50 training places for dentists are better than nothing, but they equate to just one trainee dentist for every 10,000 people sitting on a public dental waiting list.
Putting off dental reform means that 500,000 low income people will continue suffering on long waiting lists to get basic dental treatment in the grossly underfunded public dental system.
Dental should be put under Medicare so that pensioners aren’t denied dental treatment because they can’t afford it. This must be addressed in the next budget.
Mature age unemployed
The $6,000 incentive payment for employers who take on long-term unemployed mature age people is welcome, but the target group for this measure will have to suffer for two years on the below-poverty line Newstart Allowance before they’re eligible.
The number of long-term unemployed older people will no doubt increase once the Age Pension age rises to 67, with the most disadvantaged mature age job seekers such as those with little superannuation and the retrenched, hardest hit.
Nothing in tonight’s budget will help pensioners renting privately, many of whom pay in excess of 70 per cent of their income on rent alone.
Rent Assistance has only increased by about 16 per cent over the past five years despite rents going up exponentially.
The Government is sitting on its hands regarding aged care, waiting for the final report of the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into Caring for Older Australians.
CPSA calls for staff to resident ratios and stricter regulation of residential aged care facilities to protect vulnerable older people from poor care.
CPSA also calls for an insurance model similar to Medicare for aged care so that older people don’t have to sell the family home to get an aged care bed. This goes against the Productivity Commission’s reform proposals, which call for higher user-payments and less regulation for aged care providers.
Set-top boxes for full-rate pensioners to switch to digital TV
This has been part of the Australian Government’s switch to digital TV and full-rate pensioners have been receiving the free set-top boxes since July 2010. Therefore, it’s nothing new, but nonetheless a good move to ensure full-rate pensioners have access to television once the switch to digital is made.
Media contact Charmaine Crowe, Policy Coordinator
Mobile: 0410 612 182