2016 Federal Budget brings welcome reforms and missed opportunities

The 2016 Federal budget announced last night has included wins and losses for older Australians, with reform for superannuation, but missed opportunities in aged care, housing and mature age employment.

2016 Federal Budget brings welcome reforms and missed opportunities

2016 Federal Budget brings welcome reforms and missed opportunities

Released: 04-May-2016

Event Date: to

The 2016 Federal budget announced last night has included wins and losses for older Australians, with reform for superannuation, but missed opportunities in aged care, housing and mature age employment. ;

COTA Australia welcomed the package of initiatives in the Federal budget which better target superannuation tax concessions, lift age restrictions on contributions, provide opportunities for women and people on low incomes to better save for retirement, and make the system more flexible and responsive to retirement needs.

"COTA is also extremely pleased to see the lifting of the restrictions on the age people can make superannuation contributions over 65 years to a new limit of 75 years," said Mr Ian Yates, Chief Executive of COTA Australia. "This acknowledges that increasing numbers of people are choosing to work well into their 70s and sends a positive signal about mature age employment.”

Mr Yates welcomed the initiatives which put superannuation back on the path for which it was originally intended, as a way for people to save for their retirement rather than a wealth accumulation scheme for Australia’s highest earners. 

"It's also good to see the efforts made to recognise that many women retire with low superannuation because their careers are often broken by caring for children and ageing parents,” said Mr Yates. “The opportunity to make ‘catch-up' contributions and for spouse tax offsets are a step in the right direction. More will still need to be done to ensure women have equitable retirement incomes, but it can't all be done by the super system itself.”

Mr Yates said it is concerning that there a range of other significant issues which largely absent from the 2016 Budget. These include:



  • An increase in the Newstart Allowance – 25% of Newstart recipients are over 50 and are driven into poverty by long term unemployment;
  • Measures to increase mature age workforce participation and reduce age discrimination;
  • Affordable housing measures to address the increasing rates of homelessness and housing stress for older people;
  • New measures to address mental health needs of older people and in particular the high rates of suicide in men over 80; and
  • Commitment to the Roadmap for Reform in the aged care sector developed by COTA, the National Aged Care Alliance and the government’s own Aged Care Sector Committee.

Mr Yates said older Australians will be disappointed that the next steps in aged care reform had been left out of the 2016 Budget. 

“The $136 million contained in the budget to improve My Aged Care website and Contact Centre is very welcome but needs to be accompanied by other major measures to address the core failures in our aged care system.This includes giving older Australians control over their own residential aged care in the same way they will have control over their home care packages next February. This is a huge missed opportunity.

“COTA, the National Aged Care Alliance and the government’s own Aged Care Sector Committee’s Roadmap for Reform have all laid out a clear path for change over the next five years.

“This budget was a great opportunity for the government to commit to that process and timeframe for achieving this overdue reform.”  

   

To read COTA Australia’s media release on the 2016 Federal Budget, click here: BUDGET 2016: some great news, some missed opportunities,some concerns

   

To read COTA Australia’s media release on superannuation reforms in the budget, click here: BUDGET 2016: superannuation reform package welcomed


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