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Protecting the savings of the unemployed.



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JENNY MACKLIN MP

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR JAGAJAGA

Shadow Minister for Social Security, and the Aged

 

24 September 1998

 

 

PROTECTING THE SAVINGS OF THE

UNEMPLOYED

 

 

A Labor Government will provide much needed relief to the unemployed who have been forced to d ig deep into their savings and their superannuation before they are able to claim unemployment benefits, Shadow Minister for Social Security, Jenny Macklin, said today.

 

The Coalition has given up on older workers, implementing policies that force them out of the workforce.

 

Superannuation assets will no longer be include in the means test for social security benefits for those aged between 55 and age pension age under a Labor Government.

 

This reverses the Howard Government measure introduce on 20 September 1997, at a total cost of $131 million over three years.

 

This measure has caused hardship amongst many older workers who have been forced to retire early and give up looking for work.

 

Labor believes that superannuation should not be treated as income for social security purposes until a person retires. Forcing people to dip into their super before retirement age is a short-term and counterproductive policy because it pushes people out of the workforce and reduces the income people have saved for their retirement.

 

Under John Howard, if a single person has more than $2,500 in liquid assets and couples have more than $5,000, they have to wait up to a maximum of 13 weeks before they can get unemployment benefits.

 

To reduce the hardship that this measure has caused many unemployed Australians —including the trauma of having to use up their only savings — Labor will reduce the maximum waiting period to 8 weeks from 1 January 1999.

 

Labor will also increase the amounts that people can have in liquid assets before they are subject to the wait, to $3,500 for a single, and $7,000 for a couple, at a cost of $7.75 million over four years.

 

Further information

Jenny Macklin 0419 593 622

Gary Moorhead 0418 555 877

 

 

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