News National Commission wants pensions slashed and age raised

Commission wants pensions slashed and age raised

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The aged pension age would be hiked to 70 and made harder to access under the commission of audit’s quest for budget savings.

In its long-awaited report, the commission on Thursday outlined its vision for the age pension arguing without change it was unsustainable and poorly targeted.

It wants the pension access age to rise to 70 by 2053, and the superannuation preservation age hiked to five years below the pension age, so that it would reach 62 by 2027.

The changes to the pension age would not affect anyone born before 1965.

The rise in pension payments would also be slowed by benchmarking it to 28 per cent of average weekly wages over a 15 year period.

The commission also wants the family home included in a new means test for eligibility, which would lock out senior couples sitting on properties valued at $750,000 or more, or singles with a home worth more than $500,000 – based on today’s values.

The family home would also be included in the means test for aged care, so that seniors selling up would be required to partly pay the cost of their care.

The commission is also calling for the housing help for seniors program to be abolished and access to the seniors health card tightened to the most needy.

In another move, it also wants older jobseekers who currently get more than younger people on Newstart or other working age payments to get the same rate.

The changes are designed to be rolled out over time to minimise the impact on the community, commission chair Tony Shepherd told reporters before the report’s release.

“If we kick the can down the road and leave it too late, then the correction will be sudden and difficult,” he said.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has ruled out any changes to the age pension before 2016 but has flagged an overhaul to eligibility and tighter indexation from 2017 onwards.