Pension changes were first announced in the 2015 federal budget. Photo: Gabriele Charotte Special Minister of State Scott Ryan says pensioners will be better under January 1 pension changes. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Less than a week before changes to the pension assets test come into effect, the Turnbull government has accused Labor of running a scare campaign about their impact on older ns.
Special Minister of State Scott Ryan said most pensioners would be better off after January 1, when the changes to the assets thresholds and doubling of the taper rate begin.
The threshold for a homeowning couple to receive a part pension will be lowered to $816,000, while single homeowners will see a reduced threshold of $542,000.
Full pension eligibility will include $250,000 in assets for single homeowners, compared with a new threshold of $375,000 for homeowning couples.
Designed to save the federal budget $2.4 billion over four years, the changes were first announced in the Abbott government’s 2015 budget.
Labor originally said it would oppose the move, but it banked the savings in its costings before the July 2 federal election. Now the opposition says as many as 330,000 pensioners will be worse off.
“There’s a dishonest scare campaign being run by Bill Shorten and his union mates despite the fact these are policies they took to the election campaign and regardless of who was in government these would be coming into effect on January 1,” Senator Ryan said on Tuesday.
“These are changes both the Coalition legislated, but also the Labor Party took to the election as part of its election policy.”
He said 90 per cent of people receiving the pension would see either no change or an improvement from the start of 2017, while 170,000 of the most vulnerable would be the greatest beneficiaries.
Acting Opposition Leader Chris Bowen said the Coalition’s poor poll numbers among older voters were due to the pension changes, not Labor’s political tactics.
“The changes coming into force on the first of January for example in a deal done between the Greens and the Liberal Party,” he said.
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