Senator Glenn Lazarus pushes for boost to age pension
ON the eve of the election Senator Glenn Lazarus has announced a new policy to improve the living standards of older Australians.
The policy involves implementing a national concession scheme to reduce the cost of living.
Senator Lazarus said the age pension was not keeping up with the rising cost of living and older Australians were being forced to go without basic essentials simply to survive.
"Older Australians living on the Age Pension are receiving a basic weekly wage of $397.40. How are Pensioners supposed to live on this? The answer is they can't and many pensioners are living below the poverty line," he said.
"I have spoken to many Pensioners who can't afford to turn their heating on in winter because they cannot afford the electricity bills.
"Others have told me that because their medication has increased in price that they cannot afford to buy bread and milk.
"As a country we should be ashamed of the way we treat our older Australians. They have worked, paid taxes, raised families, volunteered and contributed much to our nation and we should be doing more to support them.
The Lazarus Team policy has been tagged 'Standing up for Pensioners' and includes:
Increasing the basic Age Pension by 20% from 1 July 2017.
This will increase the weekly income of Pensioners from $397.40 by $79.48 to $476.88 per week (single Pensioners).
Couple Pensioners will increase from $299 each per week to $359.46
The introduction of a national concession policy for Age Pensioners to be adopted by all states and territories as a national standard to provide:
- 20% discounts on rates, utilities such as water and electricity and gas
- All older Australians from the age of 70 years - Free public transport
Senator Lazarus said funding for the pension increase should come from not pushing through with the proposed company tax cuts.
"What the silver spoon Coalition doesn't seem to understand is that the Superannuation Guarantee only came into effect in 1992.
"As such compulsory superannuation is a relatively new initiative and many older Australians have not been given the opportunity to grow a nest egg. They rely on the Age Pension to live," he said.
"Some people, often women, have not had the opportunity to grow a nest egg at all. We are seeing high levels of homelessness among older women and this needs to stop."