Retiree housing a key income issue: AIST, Grattan

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has welcomed the Grattan Institute’s finding yesterday that more needs to be done to support the growing cohort of non-home-owning retirees but warned that its recommendation that more rental housing assistance be provided was not enough.

The controversial retirement report released by Grattan this week highlighted that housing was causing strain for retirees, as more people were retiring with mortgage debt or having to rely on private rentals. According to AIST, twice as many retired households were now paying more than 30 per cent of income for housing.

AIST chief executive Eva Scheerlinck said that while Grattan’s recommendation that an extra $25 a week be paid to retirees in rental assistance was welcome, it would not make up for the delayed increase in the Superannuation Guarantee that was also suggested.

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“Older retirees who are forced to rent – many of them single women – deserve both housing security and a decent income,” she said. “An extra $25 a week in rental assistance – while welcome – is not going to make as big a difference as 12 per cent super.”

Scheerlinck, echoing concerns of both the Association for Superannuation Funds of Australia and Industry Super Australia, warned that leaving super at 9.5 per cent would lead to strain on the Aged Pension as low-income workers were forced to rely on it more in retirement.

AIST agreed with Grattan, however, that the Aged Pension asset test needed revision and that superannuation tax concessions should be more fairly distributed.

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