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Dr. Mark Sinclair
Dr. Mark Sinclair, Mentor Education

Raising the pension age to 70 receives widespread disapproval

26 November 2013
ACTU President  Ged Kearney
ACTU President
Ged Kearney

The coalition government has not supported the Productivity Commission’s proposal of pension age to be lifted to 70 to meet the economic costs of the ageing population.

The Abbott government commissioned Productivity Commission conducted reviews of the childcare and industrial relations
systems, and recommended that the government consider raising the pension age to 70 by 2035. The pension age is already due to climb to 67 by 2023 and Australia’s population will reach 38 million by 2060. The Productivity Commission’s research warns that now is the time to plan the policy responses that will be needed to cope with these demographic and economic changes.

A spokeswoman for Treasurer Joe Hockey has confirmed that, the government has no plans to increase the pension age and confirmed that, “the commission was an adviser to government, it’s not the government.”

The unions have reacted strongly against the proposal with ACTU president Ged Kearney
commenting that, “while life expectancy may have risen, the ability of Australians to continue to work in physically demanding jobs had not risen with it. How can construction workers be
expected to haul concrete around a work site or a childcare worker keep up with a room full of kids until they’re 70?’”

Kearney has also highlighted the need for a strong superannuation system and said that, “if the Government wants to reduce budget pressures as the population ages, it should strengthen the superannuation system rather than raise the pension age. A strong superannuation system lets ordinary workers retire with security and quality of life and takes pressure off the pension
system.”

Kearney has also spoke strongly about the Abbott Government’s deferral of the increase of the compulsory superannuation contribution to 12 per cent for the last two years and suggested, “reducing superannuation tax concessions that disproportionately benefit high-income earners and move as quickly as possible to lift the compulsory superannuation contribution to 12 per cent.”

The Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association were also unanimous in their
disapproval with senior policy adviser Charmaine Crowe commenting that it ”shows what happens when the bean counters are let loose on social policy. ”This policy might satisfy the bottom line, but it would have a devastating impact on low-income older people.”

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