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Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Page: 12663

Carbon Pricing

(Question No. 588)

Mr Neville asked the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, in writing, on 12 September 2011:

In respect of the proposed carbon price, is he able to indicate (a) how many self-funded retirees will be ineligible for Government financial assistance, and (b) what Government financial assistance will be provided to single self-funded retirees and couples with incomes and savings of up to $25,000 and $50,000 respectively, who do not hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

Mr Combet: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(a) I am unable to provide an estimate of the number of self-funded retirees who will be ineligible for household assistance, as many are outside the tax and transfer systems. Accordingly, the Government does not hold information on their details or numbers.

Depending on their personal circumstances, self-funded retirees may receive assistance through tax cuts, increases to the Seniors Supplement, or a combination of the two. Retirees who are primarily self-funded but also receive some Age Pension will receive the same assistance as Age Pensioners through the new Clean Energy Supplement. As per the Government's commitment to assist all low income households to a level that at least covers their average expected price impact, low income self-funded retiree households that are not fully assisted to offset their average expected cost impact through tax cuts or payment increases will be able to apply for the Low Income Supplement.

(b) Single self-funded retirees and couples with incomes and savings of up to $25,000 and $50,000 respectively, who do not hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, are likely to be under Age Pension age. They will receive assistance under the Clean Energy Future package, through the following mechanisms, depending on their particular circumstances.

Self-funded retirees with these incomes, which are less than $80,000, who pay tax on private earnings may receive tax cuts as a result of increases in the tax free threshold from 1 July 2012. The tax package will also increase the thresholds for the senior Australians tax offset, providing a greater offset to eligible self funded retirees over Age Pension age at some income levels.

Further tax cuts will be delivered in 2015 for all taxpayers with a taxable income of up to $80,000, with most receiving a tax cut of up to $385 in total. Over a million low income individuals will no longer have to lodge a tax return by 2015-16.

Tax concessions are already provided to self-funded retirees from 60 years of age - well below the current Age Pension age of 65 years for men and 64.5 years for women.

Self-funded retirees in low income households who have not been adequately assisted through the tax or transfer systems may be eligible for the Low Income Supplement from 1 July 2012.

Self-funded retirees who have an adjusted taxable income, including income from tax-free superannuation pensions, below $30,000 for singles and below $45,000 for couples combined (without dependent children), may be eligible for the annual $300 Low Income Supplement.