Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment
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Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment


This Liberal-National Government takes the needs of older Australians very seriously. In the term of this 45th Parliament as a Government, we have delivered on a significant body of legislation that comprehensively improves both the financial security and independence of retirees. And will ensure the highest quality aged care for older Australians that can no longer manage on their own. While the previous Labor Government legislative the pension age to 67, the Morrison Liberal-national Government has announced that the pension age will go no higher. It will remain at 67 years. Not only should this come as welcome news for Hard working Australians approaching retirement But the governments ability clip the pension age at 67, while ensuring a sustainable social security system Is due only to the strong economy that a Liberal National Government delivers Beyond simply maintaining the pension age, the government’s record of delivery for older Australians is unprecedented. We retained the energy supplement. And notably, since the coalition was elected, pensions have increased by a touch under $100 per fortnight for singles, and almost $150 per fortnight for couples. The Liberal – National Government also supports older Australians to voluntarily stay in the workforce. Thanks to a variety of Measures. Some the subject of this bill. That also include the prevision of wage subsidiaries, of up to $10,000 for employers who welcome older Australian on their pay roll. While making the case that only a Liberal-National Government will fully protect the security, the independence and welfare of older Australians. I cant move to the substance of this bill, without first touching on the flip side deputy speaker. That is, what this government wont do. We wont steer the income of more than 900 thousand Australians. Who will loose an average of $2200 every year under Labor. We wont kick the floor under the property market. And threaten the value of peoples homes. Whilst simultaneously driving up rent, by adopting Labour’s disastrous policy of ending negatively gearing and jacking up capital gains tax. We wont adopt labours plan to rip over $200 Billion in extra taxes from the pockets of every day Australians. We wont legislate an economy destroying 45% of emissions reduction target by 2030 That, if imposed, would mean a new dark age, a dark age not only for Australian jobs and industry. But quite Literally for millions of Australians. Including many older Australians who would face the devastating twin impacts of sky rocketing electricity prices and rolling black outs under labours policy. Nor will we tempt a recession. Deputy speaker. Or threaten AAA credit rating. Or risk the jobs of every day Australians. by deviating from our plan for a strong economy. A strong economy that ulitmatelty protects medicare. Puts more drugs on the PBS Secures the age pension, builds schools, hospitals and pays teachers and nurses. These are the responsibilities that concern this government. We wont be distracted by the false construct or voodoo economics of the Labour Government. Second only to the Primary aim of keeping Australians safe. It is a key objective that this liberal national government to help Australians live, healthier, longer and more active lives. In last years budget, the government announced a comprehensive package of measures to help achieve this aim. Some of these measures are the object of this bill. The social services legislative amendment supporting retirement incomes bill 2018 Which will give retirees more options and a better deal in retirement. The bill aims to enhance the standard of living for Older Australians. By providing more flexibility an choice when it comes to finance management. There are three specific changes proposed by the bill to help achieve this. Firstly, Schedule one establishes new means test rules that better accommodate the development of new and innovative income streams for retirees. These changes allow an innovative pooled life time income stream products to qualify for tax concessions. Provided they comply with the requirements. Pooled life time income products, such as Amenities. Are financial products that effectively pool the contributions of multiple people to provide consistent income to surviving members for life. the existing means test rules were designed for simple income stream products. And would not be suitable for the wide range of more complex products that are expected to emerge in the near future. And in the event of no action being taken, would leave the system open to exploitation and distort peoples financial positions. The new means test rules, will apply to all pool life time income products. Purchased on or after commencement. 1st of July, 2019. Held by social security or the department of veteran affairs Products acquired before commencement, will not be affected by the new rules. The new means test will only assess 60% of payments from any pooled life time income stream. By doing so, it accepts that part of payments from the income stream simply represent return on the individuals initial investment. And therefore, should not be counted as income Then 60% assessment continue for a minimum of 5 years or until the person reaches there threshold day. Which currently is when they reach 84 years. beyond this point just 30% of the purchase amount will be assessed. Schedule 1 also amends the rules for investment type. life insurance products to make sure that they are consistent with the new rules with the pooled income products. Secondly, deputy speaker. Schedule 2 of the bill increases the work bonus, being an income test concession, for age pension and DVA pension. over a qualifying age, encoring them to work in order to supplement their pension. the proposed increase is from $250 to $300 per fortnight Which represents the only increase since 2011 There is also a mechanism for pensioners that takes advantage of the work bonus To take any unused portion, of the current $250, up to a total of $6500, and use it to exempt future earnings from the income test. Schedule 2 will increase the maximum unused concession from $6500 to $7800 In line with proposed increase in the work bonus amount. The work bonus will also be extended under the schedule 2 provision. to include all income from gainful work that involves personal excursion. For the first time will also include self employed income. Together with income from work as a contractor or consultant. As the work bonus currently only applies to employment income this extended application improves both consistency and equity. Together with all schedule 2 reforms, will increase payments for more than 88,000 social security pensioners and extend eligibility to another 1150 retirees. Thirdly, deputy speaker. Schedule 3 of the bill extends the existing pension loans scheme (PLS). Available through Centerlink, to all older Australians with secure real estate, while also providing improved access to the scheme. The PLS operates as a type of reverse mortgage Where amounts borrowed are a debt payable to the commonwealth which is secured against real property owned by the retiree in Australia The loan is subject to a compound interest rate, set by the minister which is currently at 4.25%. The loan may be payed at anytime with the debt you usually recover following the sale of the property. or from the persons estate after their death. Schedule 3 amends all relevant legislation to allow any Australians subject only to reaching age pension To allow any Australian subject only to reaching age pension age age, or other relevant qualifying age. To participate in the PLS. Irrespective of their income or asset test assessment including pensioners assessed at a maximum pension rate. Those participating in the PLS can draw on the equity in their homes and effectively borrow to a new threshold of 150% of the maximum fortnightly pension. rate. Inclusive of any special assistance subject to any special assistance or other supplements that may apply in their case. This measure will better and more comprehensibly target the PLS to meet the needs of a diverse range of retirement situations. Giving older Australians flexibility, and more choice via an affordable government regulated scheme to support their standard of living in retirement, while allowing them to remain in their own home. In summary, this bill provides for three technical reforms to better support Australians in their retirement. New means test rules will ensure a fair and sustainable assessment of newly developed income stream products. The increase and extension of the work bonus will mean that less income from work will be assessed for income testing purposes, allowing higher income support payments to be maintained for eligible veterans and pensioners. And the expansion of the Pension Loan Scheme, the PLS, will allow retirees, including for the first time maximum rate pensioners, to improve their standard of living by accessing the equity in their home as a government loan while still living there. The reforms outlined in this bill will give older Australians more choice and greater flexibility in managing their finances. allow them to keep more of their pension when they work and allow retirees who own their home to receive more income. by leveraging these successful social security programs to better support the need of retirees. this bill further delivers on the Liberal National Governments strong ongoing commitment to older Australians. Thus, deputy speaker, I commend the bill to the house.

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