Latest Age Pension increase is an insult that does almost nothing to address years of neglect

The following is a statement by the president (Victoria) Joe Montero on behalf of and endorsed by the Steering Committee of Fair Go For Pensioners

The announced new age pension rise coming in effect on 20 March is being used to pretend that this group of pensioners are getting good deal. The truth is that they are still being cheated. The new base rate of $510 per week, or $8.80 for singles and $14.70 for couples, does little to address years of neglect. This miserly rise is an equivalent of two cups of coffee and a newspaper and does little to correct years of decline.

It’s true that those with disability, single parents, and the unemployed get even less. This doesn’t justify the mistreatment of age pensioners. But it does reveal the mind of government, which is, that those on Centrelink payments don’t matter. Pensioners are also being cruelly marginalised in every way.

All this is being covered by gross misinformation.

Ever since 2008 and the current adjustment system, the twice yearly adjustments have been so underpaid that age pensioners are now shortchanged thousands of dollars every year. The results have been increasing poverty, negative impacts on health, rising depression, and exclusion from participation in the community. This is wrong.

The formula used to calculate the six monthly increase is ambiguous and subject to manipulation, and successive governments have been guilty of using the opportunity to deny the proper increases.

Underpayment is helped with the use a special for purpose consumer price index weighted around wrong assumptions about older people. These include that housing needs only cost around 22 percent of income, they don’t pay for utilities, and their transport costs are negligeable. In short, older people are seen to need less money than others to enjoy an acceptable standard of living.

Adding $7.05 a week for utilities and free public transport at the weekend doesn’t fix the problem.

Dismal treatment like this is worse in the midst of a rapidly rising cost of living.

Under its own guidelines, the Australian government has an obligation to ensure a standard of living to the level of acceptable community standards. This is not being met.

Age pensioners are angry, feel cheated, disrespected, and discarded. After all, this is the generation that spent a lifetime working to build this country and paid tax. The nation owes them the right to pend the last part of their life in dignity and reasonable comfort. In fact, many volunteer their time and contribute immensely to keep the economy and society going. Instead of valuing this, older people are treated as a burden that shouldn’t be there.

Older people aren’t even consulted about matter that affect the conditions in which they are compelled to live.

Fair Go For Pensioners will continue to fight for a better deal. We will tell the truth about what’s going on, and campaign to pressure for change.


  1. I would have expected this sort of shocking neglect from the Coalition. Albanese and Chalmers should be ashamed of themselves.

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