Let Pensioners Work

Letter courtesy of the West Australian.

“Age-old problem needs future-proofing” (Editorial, 21/8) is missing an important component in the worker shortage debate, the harsh treatment by the Federal Government of aged Australians and other pensioners who would otherwise like to continue working.

In Australia, pensioners are subject to both an assets test and a complex incomes test. The Federal Government needs to remove the incomes test, encourage pensioners who want to work and treat the resultant income tax as repayment of their pension instead of the heavy-handed penalties they currently endure.

In Australia, about 3 per cent of aged pensioners continue in the workforce, whereas in New Zealand where there isn’t an incomes test, it is roughly 25 per cent.

A similar participation rate in Australia as New Zealand would add several hundred thousand workers Australia-wide and remove the considerable pressure on immigration and the government infrastructure and resultant debt required to support them.

The complex incomes test, which requires a large bureaucracy to administer, allows pensioners to work approximately one day without penalty before they are hit with a 50¢ in the dollar tax in addition to paying income tax.

Let’s look after our own better and remove the incomes test. Allow those pensioners who would like to, including veterans, contribute to the prosperity of us all. This initiative will assist with the current housing crisis and cost-of-living issues as well.

Dean Nalder, Hancock Prospecting


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