The wallet takes another beating

If you are a pensioner, your cost of living has gone up more than the national rate of inflation.

New Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data has just confirmed that life has just gotten a little bit tougher for pensioners, following an  recent increase in their cost of living.

Figures, released last week, show that the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI) rose than one percent more than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) itself in the year leading up to 2011’s June quarter. 

The PBLCI, which measures the impact of the price change on household incomes derived from government pensions or benefits, rose 4.5 per cent through the year while the CPI only increased by 3.6 points.

Data also stated that the most significant price rises this June quarter was food (a 1.4 per cent rise); transportation (a 1.7 per cent rise) and household contents and services (1.2 per cent increase). The only offsetting price fall this quarter was for recreation, which fell by 0.3 per cent.

CEO of Aged Care Association Australia (ACAA), Rod Young, said the data offers further proof that aged care reform is needed to bring cost of living expenses into line with government funding, pensions and benefits.

“The ABS data shows a weighted average index reflecting the cost of goods and services for pensioners and beneficiaries had risen on average by 4.5 per cent for the twelve month period ending June 30,” said Mr Young.

“The equivalent index for aged care providers called Commonwealth Own Purpose Outlays (COPO) rose by 1.9 per cent for the same period, seriously undervaluing the important work of aged care staff in caring for elderly Australians.

“At a time when all unions in the industry are calling for higher and more competitive wages for nursing and care staff, this stark difference between what government pays providers of care and the real cost of living increase brings home the difficulty providers have in paying competitive wages.”

The recent release of the Productivity Commission (PC) Report, Caring for Older Australians, calls for an independent pricing mechanism.

ACAA strongly endorses the PC report and calls on the government to develop a response to the document as soon as possible, “particularly as this type of funding anomaly urgently needs to be addressed”.

“The broad-based support for the PC report by many industry stakeholders is a clear message to government that the reform agenda is needed, that it is urgent and that the industry is expecting government to deliver a roadmap for the implementation of the reform package as part of the 2012/13 budget.”

The PBLCI will be used by the government to inform policy decisions relating to the indexation of base pension rates.

Tags: abs, acaa, aged-care, aged-care-reform, australian-bureau-of-statistics, community-care, cpi, pc, pensioner-and-beneficiary-living-cost-index, productivity-commission,

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