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Govt, Greens deal to hurt pensioners: Labor

With the support of the Greens, the Coalition is set to have its changes to the age pension pass through Parliament – a move which the opposition claims will short change pensioners.

In a deal struck overnight, the federal government has gained the support of the Greens to have its proposed changes to the age pension pass through Parliament, with the changes set to save $2.4 billion in the federal Budget.

Responding to the deal, federal Labor MP Jenny Macklin said the changes will “do nothing for pensioners except see them have their pension cut”.

“Within ten years, more than half of all new retirees will be affected by this cut,” Ms Macklin said.

“Around 330,000 Australian pensioners are set to lose. This includes 90,000 pensioners who will be kicked off the pension altogether.

“Single pensioners will lose as much as $8,000, [and] couples will lose as much as $14,000,” she said.

However, Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said changing the assets threshold and taper rate will make the pension system fairer.


“More Australians who don’t have the advantage of a healthy super balance will be able to access a full pension when we undo John Howard’s tampering with taper rates,” Ms Siewert said.

The changes in the federal Budget would only affect part-pensioners, with the government estimating that 170,000 with modest savings would gain some age pension, while 330,000 with more assets would lose some of their entitlement.

Under the proposal, home-owning older couples with assets between $800,000 and $1.2 million would lose their part pension altogether.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said yesterday that Labor would fight the government's attempt to "cut the pension for hundreds of thousands of pensioners".