Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 9 May 2018
Page: 3539


Mr GOODENOUGH (Moore) (19:44): Self-funded retirees make a significant contribution to our nation and its finances. However, their interests are often overlooked by government, and they often become the targets for revenue raising to prop up budgets. In contributing to the adjournment debate, I wish to advocate for the interests of fully and partly self-funded retirees living in my electorate, who have made prudent choices to provide for their financial security in retirement.

I wish to thank Mr Ron de Gruchy OAM, representing the WA Self Funded Retirees Inc. and the Superannuated Commonwealth Officers' Association (WA) Inc., who met with me earlier this year to discuss the 2018-19 prebudget submission in detail. The first recommendation in the submission is that all Commonwealth superannuation pensions be indexed consistently, using the same formula as is used to adjust the Centrelink age pension. This problem of inequality of the method of indexation of the CSS and PSS pensions as compared to the method used for the indexation of the Centrelink age pension has been in existence for many years.

A second recommendation is that the Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme safety net thresholds for single retirees be restructured so that access to them becomes available at 65 per cent of the levels applicable to couples and families. Currently, a single retiree needs to spend the same amount on pharmaceutical prescriptions before reaching the safety net threshold as does a couple. A similar situation exists for the Medicare safety net. There is obvious discrimination, in that one person needs to incur the same total expenditure as does a couple before any concessional treatment is allowed.

A third recommendation is that retirees be enabled to transfer funds into superannuation at the prescribed contribution levels without having to meet any work test. Retirees aged between 65 and 74 who wish to contribute funds to a superannuation fund are required to pass a work test before they are permitted to do so. In order to qualify, this test requires them to be gainfully employed for a minimum of 40 hours in any consecutive 30-day period throughout the relevant tax year. This test is considered to be an outdated, arbitrary hurdle with negligible practical value.

A fourth recommendation is that retirees be enabled to transfer funds into superannuation at the prescribed contribution levels irrespective of their age. Those people over the age of 75 and still in the workforce are now eligible to have the superannuation guarantee levy, currently 9½ per cent of their salary, paid into a recognised superannuation fund of their choice. However, anyone not employed is prohibited from contributing any funds into a superannuation fund if they're over the age of 75.

A fifth recommendation is that the deeming rates be reduced to one per cent up to the current levels of $50,200 and $83,400, with two per cent for the remainder. Deeming rates commenced in July 1996 and have been adjusted to accommodate changes. They were last changed in March 2015. Since then, there have been at least three reductions in the Reserve Bank cash rate but no changes in the official deeming rates.

The sixth recommendation is that consideration be given to widening the scope of the National Disability Insurance Scheme or DisabilityCare Australia parameters so as to include all Australian citizens, including those aged over 65.

The seventh recommendation is that the interest rate of 5.73 per cent currently being charged for the nonpayment of a refundable accommodation deposit be reviewed with the intention of bringing it more into line with either the Reserve Bank's cash rate at 1.5 per cent or the consumer price index.

I commend the 2018-19 prebudget submission by the WA Self Funded Retirees and the Superannuated Commonwealth Officers' Association (WA) to the House. (Time expired)