Govt must rule out lifting Age Pension eligibility

The Government needs to formally rule out proposals outlined in Federal Budget modelling to increase the Age Pension eligibility age to 70, according to the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST).

The industry funds-backed body has called for clarity from the Government in circumstances where many Australians do not get to choose when they retire.

AIST chief executive, Tom Garcia said Australia's retirement income policies needed to recognise that many individuals would not be in a position to work until age 70.

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"While we acknowledge that there is a trend for Australians to live and work longer, this isn't evenly spread across all workers," he said.

"Raising the Age Pension age is a very blunt tool that will hurt a lot of older workers who may be forced to retire by factors outside their control."

Garcia pointed to research conducted by the Australian Centre for Financial Studies and AIST which found that up to 40 per cent of older Australians did not get to choose when they retired due to a range of factors, notably age discrimination, ill health, poor English proficiency, and caring demands.

"We think it is unfair and unrealistic to expect every Australian to work until they're 70," he said.

"This isn't going to be the reality for many people, particularly those in physically demanding jobs, so this issue needs to be tackled by our Government rather than put on the backburner."

Noting that Australia's expenditure on age and service pensions was much lower than almost every other OECD country, Garcia said gradually increasing the Age Pension eligibility age to 67 sufficiently reduced long-term pressure on the budget and was an adequate response to the long-term challenges of an ageing population.




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