A lobby group has pushed for the allocation of new funding towards consultations with retirees in its Retirement Income Review, as well as establish an independent body to provide advice to the government on policy impacts.
In its 2021–21 pre-budget submission, the Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia said there should be government funding allocated to conduct structured consultations with consumers in 2020–21 about the design of and impact of any potential policy changes to retirement income policies.
COTA noted in its submission of a need to improve the adequacy, equity and sustainability of retirement incomes for the many older Australians on low and fixed incomes who are particularly affected by increased pressure on costs of living.
“It is understandable that older Australians become frustrated when the retirement rules change unpredictably, which can impact on their living standards,” COTA said in its submission.
“This is particularly problematic when changes are retrospectively applied to consumers already in retirement who have little ability to adjust their finances which were based on the old rules.”
COTA also requested that an independent body be established as a means to provide greater confidence for those who have planned their retirement incomes.
It proposed that while the government should continue to have the final say on all government policies, it also said that there is merit in considering a mechanism to provide arms length and independent advice of any changes prior to government finalising its decisions.
According to COTA, such advice would include publicly available impact modelling of options and recommendation of appropriate transitional arrangements to protect older Australians already in retirement.
Further, the lobby group said such a body should include representatives of older Australians and be tasked with providing a report once every five years on the state of retirement incomes.
“COTA is also calling for the establishment of an independent body to advise the government on any changes to retirement incomes to ensure carefully built retirement plans do not go to waste,” COTA chief executive Ian Yates said.
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