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Budget will increase the super access age.



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SENATOR NICK SHERRY

SHADOW MINISTER FOR RETIREMENT INCOMES AND SAVINGS

MEDIA RELEASE 6 May 2003

Budget will increase the super access age

John Howard has let the cat out of the bag on secret plans to increase the age at which Australians can access their superannuation.

In an interview for the Australian Financial Review published today, Mr Howard indicated that the Government plans to force Australians to work longer through changes to superannuation in this month’s Budget.

Mr Howard said that early retirement was “a very big issue” and that “clearly superannuation is part of it”.

Mr Howard confirmed reports in February that Treasurer Costello briefed Cabinet on forcing Australians to work longer, and had established a taskforce to look at options, including a higher access age for super.

This follows comments by the Treasurer in August last year that “more flexible working arrangements, training and re-training, and raising the preservation age for superannuation would all be positive moves” and a refusal by the Minister responsible for superannuation, Senator Coonan, to rule out a higher access age.

A leaked Department of Finance paper shows that, as early as April last year, the Government was considering increasing the super access age and the age pension age to 70.

Mr Howard has made it clear to all Australians that his Government wants to increase the preservation age, from the existing base of 55 to 60 years up to 65 or 70.

Under Mr Howard’s plan, many Australians will be forced to work until they drop.

This shows just how out of touch John Howard has become. His desire to stay in his job has blinded him to the fact that many workers can’t work, or don’t want to work, beyond 60, let alone 65, due to ill health or because there is simply no work available.

Australians want a choice about when to retire, not to be forced to work longer due to higher access ages for superannuation or because they will have insufficient retirement income as a result of the Liberals’ policy failures.

For more information or comment please contact: Senator Nick Sherry 0418 482 807 Scott McNamara (03) 6424 8241 or 0409 210 688