New data released today shows the true cost to Ballarat pensioners of Malcolm Turnbull’s changes to the pension assets test.
The data confirms the changes will cut the Age Pension for 330,000 elderly Australians, including 60,000 in Victoria and 2280 in Ballarat alone.
The figures, obtained by Labor from the Department of Human Services show in the Ballarat electorate:
• 1670 pensioners will have their payments reduced by an average $129 per fortnight or $3354 a year
• A further 610 pensioners will have their payments cut entirely, costing them an average $197 per fortnight or $5122 per year
And these are just the averages, with some singles to lose as much as $8,000 a year and couples as much as $14,000.
”These are pensioners that have worked hard all their lives and saved for their retirement. They don’t deserve to be put into hardship by these cuts,” member for Ballarat, Catherine King said today.
“Pensioners in Ballarat never voted for these cuts. Indeed, before the last election, the Abbott-Turnbull Government explicitly promised there would be no cuts to pensions, just as they promised no cuts to health and no cuts to education.
“Now, as a result of yet another broken promise part-pensioners across our region are going to have their household budgets cut by the Liberals and their cost of living increased.
“The data confirms that as far as the people of Ballarat are concerned, nothing has changed.
“Tony Abbott may be gone for now, but Malcolm Turnbull has done absolutely nothing to change his unfair policies. Tony Abbott’s pension cuts are now Malcolm Turnbull’s pension cuts.
“Cutting the part-pension shows how out of touch the Liberals are. They are hurting struggling pensioners while doing nothing to crack down on the outrageous tax avoidance by multinational companies making billions of dollars.
“Mr Turnbull needs to explain why he thinks it’s fair for Australian pensioners to have their cost of living increased while some massive multinational companies pay little or no tax.
Under the Liberals, multinational companies get a free kick, and Australian pensioners get kicked in the guts.
“The Abbott-Turnbull track record for pensioners is nothing short of dreadful.
“First they tried to cut pension indexation – a cut that would have meant pensioners would be forced to live on $80 a week less within ten years.
“Then they cut $1.3 billion from concessions which help pensioners with the cost essential services like electricity, water and public transport.
“Then they did a deal with the Greens to cut the pension for 330,000 part-pensioners by changing the assets test.
“The Liberals also want to increase the pension eligibility age to 70 – meaning Australia would have the oldest retirement age in the developed world.
“And now Malcom Turnbull wants to slug Australian pensioners with a 15 per cent GST, hitting households by up to $4,000 a year and reducing the living standards of Australian pensioners.”
Only Labor is standing up for Australian pensioners by opposing cuts to the pension and any increase to the GST.
Only one party will protect the pension.
Only Labor will fight for Ballarat pensioners.