The consumer lobby group representing older Australians has expressed disappointment that the 2008-09 federal budget ignored warnings about the inadequacy of the single aged care pension.
National Seniors CEO, Michel O’Neill, said older people entirely dependent on the single age pension – often women with no superannuation due to the circumstances of their times – represented Australia’s most vulnerable seniors.
“These people who live off $273 a week while grappling with significant food, fuel and health cost increases are now starting to feel excluded under the Rudd Government’s ‘working families’ mantra,” said O’Neill.
The lobby group said that the continuation of one-off allowances and bonuses introduced by the Howard Government does not provide real short-term relief or the basis for a sustainable pension in the long term.
Shadow Minister for Ageing, Margaret May echoed Mr O’Neill’s concerns. “It’s about time the Prime Minister got over his obsession with ‘working families’ and governed for all Australians, paying particular attention to the frail and vulnerable,” she said.
“Pensioners living on an aged pension were overlooked in this Budget with no recognition for the struggles they are facing with rising grocery and petrol prices.
“Many pensioners do not have any discretionary income at all and the pension is falling short of meeting their basic needs.