As with all Federal and State budgets, the 2022-2023 Federal budget benefits some while remaining neutral for others. There are also people who may be worse off, especially given the rising cost of living and the spectres of higher inflation and higher interest rates.
For older Western Australians, the budget includes a $1.5 billion to provide a one off $250 payment to around 6 million Australians, around half of whom are pensioners. Also announced was a 50% reduction to the fuel excise for 6 months, reducing the price of petrol by 22.1 cents per litre. These new payments build on the 2.1% indexation to increase the age pension by $20.10 for singles and $30.20 for couples per fortnight announced earlier in March 2020 which is based on historical cost increases over July to December 2021.
There was no mention of a permanent solution for pensioners on the cost of digital engagement. In the modern world, the cost of internet connections, computers, mobile phones are no longer optional. For many people on welfare payments who do not own their home, these things are out of reach, and the consequences are severe.
The Government’s cost of living relief for middle income wage earners, did not include low to middle income self-funded retirees living only off their superannuation. There was also no mention of flexible arrangements for older workers. Many people want to retire completely, others want to continue working part time. The pension should accommodate both without disadvantage. It was disappointing that calls for policies to relax the pension wage income test for at least a year, to further incentivise retirees into the workforce, was not included as part of the Government’s economic recovery plan.
To view the Budget Key Initiatives At a Glance, go to:
COVID-19 coronavirus (www.wa.gov.au): https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2022/03/budget-2022-23-budget-at-a-glance.pdf