Industry bodies clash over pension proposal
Monday, 15 February 2016 12:33pm

The Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA) has branded "offensive" an Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) proposal to turn the Age Pension into a loan recoverable against the family home.

In a pre-Budget submission the ACCI said the Government should consider transforming pension payments to owner-occupiers into a loan that is recoverable against their property when it is sold, potentially with a residual value that would allow pensioners to access equity for aged care.

"At present very little of the equity in owner-occupied housing is being drawn down for other purposes," Australian Chamber chief executive Kate Carnell said.

Carnell also suggests abolishing Family Tax Benefit Part B to save $13.9 billion over four years. The benefit gives extra help to single parents and families with one main income.

CPSA manager, research and advocacy Amelia Christie said the proposals are "offensive to low income people who rely on the pension in order to survive."

"The pension is a safety net for those who need it. A recent OECD report found that more than one third of Australian pensioners are living in poverty," she continued.

"CPSA is sick of the business lobby arguing that low income people are somehow cash cows that can be milked for savings. It is the revenue side of the budget that must be looked at - low income people should be left alone.

"If the Government and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry are so concerned about a pensioner's home being transferred to their kids, perhaps we should look at bringing back death duties for the wealthy."

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