We are a diverse lot in Australia and there will be lots of opinions about what the Treasurer should include in the Federal budget. While we don’t have any inside knowledge we do hear from a lot of our customers and colleagues in the industry.
So what are some of the things people would like to see?
We have written a few blogs recently highlighting aspects of the Retirement Income Review (RIR). Some of the commentary we have been hearing has called for:
- Increases to the Commonwealth Rent Assistance. Seniors that are forced into the rental market are far more likely to live in poverty than other Seniors
- Decreases to deeming rates. These continue to be out of sync with the actual rates Seniors are receiving and this impacts the entitlements of many people.
- Reforms to the Pension Loan Scheme (PLS). The PLS enables people above Age Pension age to take advantage of the equity in their home to generate additional income. The scheme isn’t well promoted and not many people realise that you don’t need to be on the Age Pension to take advantage of it. The interest rate on the scheme, currently 4.5%, is also quite high and off putting in the current low interest rate environment. The Treasurer may look at this.
Typically Age Pension rates are updated in March and September each year while the thresholds are updated at the start of July. We aren’t anticipating anything that will change the existing schedule or lead to significant increases in the short to medium term but it would be great to see something in the budget.
Aged Care Reforms
The impact of Covid on Seniors and the recent Royal Commission into the Aged Care sector have shone the spotlight on the need for far more attention and support for this sector. We wouldn’t be at all surprised to see more spending in this area.
Home Care is one area that could be strengthened and National Seniors Australia in their budget submission called for three initiatives in this area. These were:
- Increase the number of home care packages available;
- Increase the maximum level of funding for home care so it equals what is available in residential care, and;
- Develop a traineeship program to increase the number of workers in the sector
This is just a sample of the issues being raised and there might be a number of other things you would like to see addressed. We would love to hear your views. Please leave your comments below.