News digest

Call for pensions, superannuation overhaul; seniors lobby against pension changes; new interagency policy on elder abuse; site provided for Croatian aged care facility; Singapore chooses Australian IT programs.


In this story:

  • Call for pensions, superannuation overhaul
  • Seniors lobby against pension changes
  • New interagency policy on elder abuse
  • Site provided for Croatian aged care facility
  • Singapore chooses Australian IT programs
Call for pensions, superannuation overhaul

New research on Australia’s retirement income system calls for entitlement to the full pension rate to be limited to those with private assets (exempting the primary residence) of less than $100,000 for singles and $150,000 for couples.

The report from think tank Per Capita proposes that those excluded from receiving pension payments under the new assets test would be able to access a ‘repayable’ pension scheme to help them manage the costs of living over their lifetime and reduce pressure to sell assets quickly.

These loans would accrue interest at Treasury 10-year bond rate and be payable out of the estate.

The report says it’s not just rising longevity that is making Australia’s retirement system unsustainable; rather it is inequality. The pensions and superannuation system has become skewed towards the interests of wealthier Australians, it argues.

The Federal Government is currently proposing to restrict the indexation of the age pension while ignoring the ballooning cost of subsidies to high-income earners through superannuation. This would make the problems of sustainability and inequality worse, with more senior Australians living in poverty and greater subsidies going to those who need them least, the paper says.

Read Per Capita’s full report, The Entitlement of Age

Seniors lobby against pension changes

Elsewhere, the government’s proposed changes to the pension have also drawn the ire of seniors, with Council on the Ageing launching a new campaign against the measures.

Hands Off the Pension was launched following “unprecedented level of feedback” the lobby group received from older people deeply worried about the changes, COTA chief executive Ian Yates said.

Mr Yates said that while older people would be hit by the freezing of eligibility thresholds, changes to deeming rates and increasing the qualifying age to 70, they were most worried about the proposed changes to indexation.

Changing indexation from a percentage of average weekly earnings to CPI only would dramatically reduce the standard of living for over 2.4 million Australian pensioners, Mr Yates said.

If only the CPI had been used since 2009 the pension would already be $30 per week or $1,560 per year less, a gap which grows to over $80 per week or $4,160 per year in 10 years, he said.

“COTA is calling on the government to withdraw all proposed changes to the pension while a Retirement Incomes Review is conducted. If not then COTA is urging the Senate to reject all the changes.”

New interagency policy on elder abuse

The NSW Government has moved to improve coordination between agencies responding to the issue of elder abuse, with a new guide for organisations and professionals.

State Minister for Ageing John Ajaka said Preventing and responding to abuse of older people: NSW Interagency Policy would ensure those working with older people were alerted to the risk of abuse, and were appropriately trained to respond in a timely manner.

“This interagency report is a step in the right direction – it means we are all on the same page of what to look out for when identifying elder abuse,” he said. The most common type of abuse against older people was financial abuse, with sons and daughters aged 45-64 often identified as those primarily responsible, he said.

Mr Ajaka said he encouraged anyone who has experienced or witnessed elder abuse to seek advice from the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline by calling 1800 628 221.

Site provided for Croatian aged care facility

Victorian Croatian Aged Care Services has signed a lease with the Victorian Government enabling it to build a new residential aged care facility in North Geelong.

The not-for-profit provider, which was awarded 100 aged care places by the Commonwealth Government, has leased one hectare of public land in Bell Park.

Announcing the lease recently, state Minister for Health David Davis said the Victorian Government earmarked the public land in 2011 and delivered $2 million to secure it.

Singapore chooses Australian IT programs
Leecare's CEO Caroline Lee at the press conference announcing the program
Leecare CEO Caroline Lee at the press conference announcing the program

Australian technology vendor Leecare Solutions has been selected to be the partner with the Singapore government’s Nursing Home IT Enablement Programme (NHELP).

The program aims to assist nursing homes in improving patient care and boosting productivity.

The Singapore government’s Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) plans to roll the program out to 36 nursing homes by 2017.

Connected to AIC’s integrated referral management system and the national electronic health record, the IT system will ensure timelier flows of residents’ electronic health information between different care institutions and participating nursing homes.

The NHELP IT system will also automate processes and documentation, boosting productivity and work efficiency, AIC said.

Leecare said the project would use all four of its Platinum 5 suite modules and two partner programs.



Tags: carers, carers-australia, cota, david-davis, elder-abuse, ian-yates, John Ajaka, national carers award, pensions, per capita, superannuation, Victorian Croation Aged Care,

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