Tighten Your Belts

15 April 2014

The Government is preparing us for a tough budget – we’ll all have to tighten our belts apparently.  Two of the savings they’re considering are raising the retirement age to 70 and reducing the State Pension.

That seems like a great way to run a country – let’s get the pensioners to pay for it.  I’ve certainly seen no mention of perhaps raising the highest rate of income tax, or company tax.  The cynic in me presumes that this is because aged pensioners in this country don’t donate squillions to the Liberal Party coffers.  And remember that a State Pension in Australia is heavily means-tested.  It isn’t just dished out to everyone above retirement age so we can assume that the recipients actually need the money.

They’re still determined though to push through their changes to maternity pay.  FULL salary for 6 months, capped at $150,000 a year.  It’s currently 18 weeks at the minimum wage ($622 per week).  The proposed scheme will cost $6.1 BILLION. 

And raising the retirement age?  It’s difficult enough finding employment if you’re over 50 – practically impossible if you’re over 65 unless you’re highly qualified and experienced in a specialist field.  But if you’re in that category, you can probably retire when you want as you won’t be looking for support from the State.  It’s manual workers and the unqualified who will be the hardest hit, and they’re the ones for whom working till 70 may just not be physically possible. 

I fear this is going to be very selective belt-tightening.

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