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Howard snubs aged pensioners - Greens

The Howard government is focused on giving the aged pension to more wealthy retirees when it should be focused on raising the income of those currently struggling on the aged pension, Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.
"The latest changes to the aged pension show how out of touch the Howard government has become. It could have spent $1 billion increasing the meagre aged pension by $20 per week, but instead it has decided to spend $1 billion giving the aged pension to wealthy retirees," Senator Brown said.
The Government has recently announced changes to the assets test for the aged pension that will allow a couple with a house and $800,000 in assets to claim a part pension. If an individual receives only $1 in aged pension he or she automatically receives a range of other concessions. The cost of the loosening of the assets test is estimated to be $1 billion per year.
"The Greens have been calling for an increase in the aged pension of $60 per fortnight. The Government and the ALP keep saying it is unaffordable. At the same time the Government is spending $1 billion per year to loosen the asset test so that someone with $800,000 in the bank will now be able to receive a part pension," Senator Brown said.
The Greens would fund the $60 a fortnight increase in the aged pension by scrapping the tax cuts for those people earning over $75,000 a year which were announced in the federal budget.
"Pensioners are struggling to make ends meet. A single aged pensioner now receives $268.85 per week. The government's priority should be increasing the aged pension by $60 a fortnight, rather than extending the pension to wealthy retirees," Senator Brown said.
Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603

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