FORCING Australians to work until they are 70 will save the federal government more than $3.6 billion in just four years, new data has revealed.
And that doesn’t include the extra five years or so of income tax the government can enjoy extracting from those who can’t afford to retire without a pension.
Yet there are no signs of an increase in the age at which our federal politicians can access their generous pensions, which will be just 60 in 2025.
For everyone else, the pension age will be gradually increased between 2025 and 2029, saving $3.6 billion in those years alone, with billions more added to the budget bottom line in subsequent years.
With an average life expectancy of 80 years for men and 84 for women, it means most people will get to enjoy only a few years of the pension — certainly 10 years less than a federal MP.
The unpopular budget-repair measure, announced in 2014 by Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey, remains on the government’s books despite the Coalition walking away from most of the other “zombie measures”.
Social Services Minister Christian Porter said the changes must go ahead.
“It remains government policy to increase the age pension age to 70,” he said.
“This is a sensible move to ensure that our pension system is sustainable for future generations, as Jenny Macklin and Wayne Swan themselves acknowledged in 2009.”
However, Labor’s social services spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said the $3.6 billion would be “coming from the pockets of ordinary Australians”.
“How does Mr. Turnbull expect construction workers, miners, nurses and farmers to work until they’re 70? He’s totally out of touch,” Ms. Macklin said.
The May Budget reaffirmed the plan to increase the pension age by six-month increments from 67 years to 70 over the decade starting in 2025.
The Department of Human Services revealed the data this week showing the move will bank $3.6 billion between 2025 and 2029.
Council On The Ageing Australia chief executive Ian Yates said he was not opposed to increasing the pension age on principle but slammed the blanket approach.
“We note that more and more Australians are working well beyond 65 years,” Mr. Yates said.
“However COTA is opposed to increasing the age to 70 in the absence of a number of other measures.’’
Mr Yates called for an overhaul of other programs helping elderly pensioners, including tax concessions and employment assistance for people struggling to get jobs.