Let
Pensioners
Work!

Cut Centrelink red tape,
don't cut their pensions!

Australia has critical labour shortages across multiple sectors. Fewer than 76,000 pensioners (3%) currently work, but many would work (or work more) if they did not lose 50c in the dollar when they work more than once day a week.

WIN for business

WIN for the Economy

WIN for the Country

WIN for Older Australians

EVERYONE WINS!!!

For more information, go to www.nationalseniors.com.au or call 1300 765 050.

Dutton’s policy-driven agenda

Mr Dutton’s first foray into policy reform in opposition – proposing a doubling in the amount of money age pensioners can earn before their pensions are cut – gained traction immediately. In a time of severe skills and labour shortages, it would benefit the economy as well as the pensioners keen to work and earn.

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SKILLS SHORTAGE CONUNDRUM

Australia has half a million jobs up for grabs but is finding it near impossible to fill most of them. The Prime Minister’s $5.4b plan to make child care cheaper for families also forms a central part of his strategy to address the skills shortage. But Mr Albanese is also facing calls to encourage pensioners to return to the workforce. New Liberal leader Peter Dutton has pressed the Albanese Government to allow pensioners to earn more money without seeing their pensions being cut back — borrowing an idea championed by WA mining magnate Gina Rinehart and rejected by the Coalition. Currently pensioners can earn $300 a fortnight before their pension payments are reduced, but Mr Dutton wants the income threshold to be increased to $600.

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Calls grow for changes to pension eligibility rules to ease Australia’s job crisis

“When you think of people who worked for a long time, they’ve built up an enormous amount of skills, they’ve got a lot of experience, they don’t panic, they know what to do in different situations…they also have a lot of capability to mentor younger people to provide that experience and that skill,” Willox said. Willox’s push for older Australians to be able to re-enter the workforce with ease comes after Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton said he wanted to double the amount age pensioners can earn before their pensions are reduced in an effort to both fix staff shortages and help with the rising cost of living.

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500,000 ‘grey army’ workers stand ready

Estimates from Deloitte Access Economics quantify a 5 per cent bump in the number of 55s in the workforce as a $48 billion boost to national gross domestic product. Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA chief economist Aaron Morey says the tight labour market means tapping into the full potential of the workforce was “critical” to getting the economy back on track.

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A fair go for grey army

Time to let pensioners like George work more Pensioner George Gibson wants to work more to keep the country growing, but he also doesn’t think he should be penalised for doing so. At a time when Australia is desperate for workers, industry groups agree it’s absurd a “grey army” of employees like the 71-year-old are being held back by outdated rules that mean they can only earn $300 a fortnight before their government payments are reduced. It comes as Opposition Leader Peter Dutton pushes for the threshold to be raised to $600 – an idea championed by mining billionaire Gina Rinehart. National Seniors Australia says 19 per cent of pensioners want to return to work.

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AGE-OLD RULES NOT WORKING

Estimates from Deloitte Access Economics have a 5 per cent rise in the number of over-55 s in the workforce as boosting national gross domestic product by $48 billion. The idea has long been championed by WA mining billionaire Gina Rinehart, pictured right. Mr Dutton confirmed conversations with Mrs Rinehart had helped inform his stance.
Mrs Rinehart said she applauded Mr Dutton “for the leadership he has shown on this issue”. “I would encourage the Government to not only consider the benefits to the department of eliminating pensioners’ paperwork but the revenue generated from additional income tax … and businesses then able to generate more taxable profits,” she said. Mrs Rinehart wants the Government to go further than Mr Dutton’s policy however, by eliminating any upward limit to what pensioners can earn, “and just let them contribute like other Australians by paying income tax” .

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DUTTON IN PENSIONER WORK PLAN | Leader’s Gina-Inspired Policy

Peter Dutton is in Perth for the second time in less than a fortnight , this time to spruik his calls for the Albanese Government to let pensioners earn more money without their pensions being cut back. WA mining magnate Gina Rinehart championed a similar policy before the Federal election as a way to help solve Australia’s worker shortage, but the idea was never adopted by former prime minister Scott Morrison.

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Encourage retirees to remain in the workforce

Given our ageing population, over the next few decades Australia is set to lose billions of dollars’ worth of human intellectual capital as well as priceless wisdom that collectively diminishes from the workplace once workers vanish into the oblivion of retirement. Overall, we as a society need to change our view of retirement so those people who want to keep working to earn money to supplement their pension or superannuation are able to do so. Those who are willing and able to contribute in their industry should be encouraged to do so, not out of pity, but out of a desire to extract the rich knowledge that would otherwise be lost to society.

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2GB | Chris Smith Breakfast

So why don’t you do that? Which the previous government should have done it, but this government is now in power. I spoke to Gina Rinehart about that on my Sky News programme and she was saying I don’t understand why we wouldn’t why both major parties wouldn’t take up this concept. I don’t either and they should have done it and the previous government wouldn’t do it.

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Australian Retailers Association calls for pension test changes to encourage older people back into the workforce

The Australian Retailers Association, the peak body for the nation’s $360bn retail sector, has lent its considerable political weight to supporting calls to make employment income exempt from the age pension income test, allowing pensioners to supplement their income while also alleviating severe labour shortages across the country. “Retail has always been a powerfully diverse employment sector and we need to think more creatively about how we can mobilise new segments of our Australian workforce such as mature age workers and pensioners,” Mr Zahra said “We would like to see this as a priority for the Federal government immediately following the election. Should the new government enact this considered change, a new workforce of pensioners can be unlocked and able to choose work that suits them in an economy that desperately needs their efforts.”

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AGE NO BARRIER TO WORKING

RETIREES are re-entering the workforce to fill a desperate need for talent. Research by National Seniors Australia reveals 16 per cent of age pensioners have returned to paid work since retiring, while another 20 per cent are considering it. Money is the main motivator, although retirees also attribute their decision to wanting to stay active, contribute to society, socialise and have fun. “Employers want people that are experienced and have the skills and that’s what retirees can offer,” he says.

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John Stanley interviews Ian Henschke

The election is done and dusted, but what does that mean for senior Australians? John Stanley checks in with Ian to see if the prospect of a different government could mean that senior Australians could see a different approach taken to changing these rules so that seniors can work more.

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Pensioners could alleviate the aged care staffing crisis – but will Labor lift the income threshold?

Age pensioners are well suited to working in aged care, and many do, but pension income rules mean they must limit the amount they work to avoid being taxed at the highest marginal tax rate. With the benefits of working for longer well established, and the aged care sector in the midst of an intense worker shortage, there is a growing chorus calling for pensioners to be able to earn a higher income before a punitive tax rate kicks in. New Zealand’s pensioners are not penalised for earning additional income. The participation rate of over 65s working in New Zealand is 25% compared with Australia’s 14%.

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War drones, sea mines needed to defend north: Rinehart

“I hope with the new government a better decision is made in the interests of West Australians and northern Australia, to relocate the planned navy maintenance investment away from the people and port of Fremantle, and relocate to the north-west, to Cape Preston,” said Mrs Rinehart after Saturday’s election rout of Scott Morrison’s Coalition government. Mrs Rinehart reiterated her belief that senior citizens and defence force veterans should not lose their pensions if they choose to work for an income, saying both the community and the economy would be better off if they were able to participate more at a time of labour shortages. “Enabling our economy to grow via urgent and significant tape cuts is the best way to increase jobs and opportunities for our youth, our females and our entire population, and the best way to enable wage increases and standards of living to rise, in turn providing revenue for necessities like, healthcare, emergencies, police, kindergartens, our elderly and more.”Restrictions on stopping pensioners and vets from working, restrictions that mean they can only work for a few dollars a week without losing all or part of their pensions, and onerous paperwork, must go urgently,” she said.

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9 NEWS | ‘I’m not sure I will survive’: Pensioners pushed into poverty as cost of living soars

Many pensioners who shared stories of struggling to survive on the age pension would not give their names, out of shame or a fear that they will be seen as a burden to their families. “We’ve got roughly one in four older Australians living in poverty. And the fastest growing group of people who are in poverty are single women who are renting.” Ian Henschke is the Chief Advocate for National Seniors, a not-for-profit organisation that campaigns for better outcomes for older Australians. He argues that if pensioners were allowed to work without their pension being cut, it is likely that their combined efforts would contribute more income tax and a greater boost to Australia’s GDP that the savings recouped from the government by cutting their pension. “Don’t penny pinch off the pensioners. Change the taxation system,” he says.

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REBEKHA SHARKIE TO INTRODUCE BILL TO CUT RED TAPE, NOT CUT PENSION PAYMENTS | FEDERAL MEMBER FOR MAYO | MEDIA RELEASE

The Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has today committed, if re-elected, she will introduce legislation in the first sitting of the new Parliament to allow senior Australians to work without unfair penalties to their pensions. “It simply makes moral and economic sense to introduce legislation that will allow our seniors to remain or re-join the workforce and not be unfairly penalised for it.” Australia is in the midst of a labour crisis and we have a willing and able workforce ready to go. It’s time to unleash our seniors,” Ms Sharkie says.

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Pensioners could save rural economy: Pietzsch

The sole SA Nationals candidate Jonathan Pietzsch, standing for the seat of Barker, has called on a returned Coalition government to allow pensioners to work without the threat of losing their pension. He said a National Seniors survey showed one in five pensioners wished to continue working, but only 2.9 per cent were. He said this meant that Australia was missing out on hundreds of thousands of keen and skilled workers, which had a flow on effect to the economy.”Increasing the Pensioner Work Bonus in 2 levels, one for those working in the city, and another for those wishing to work in regional areas where the worker shortage is even more critical, is a viable way to address our immediate labour shortage and will pump billions back into the economy – it truly is a win/win/win,” Mr Pietzsch said.

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Absentee overload

An explosion of COVID-19 cases in WA is intensifying staffing woes, directly impacting businesses which continue to bear the brunt of skills shortages. As cases soared to a record high of 17,000 on Wednesday — well above the original peak prediction of 10,000 — businesses were left grappling with a surge in virus-related absenteeism. Some are optimistic conditions will improve from here as the case load comes down. However, others are anticipating further disruptions as potential new strains emerge. WA’s resources sector has also acutely felt the impacts of absenteeism.

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Let pensioners work and reap the rewards

National Seniors Australia argues the federal government should revise the rules for pensioners to help ease the labour shortage. The aged pension was first designed and developed in Australia more than a hundred years ago and it’s acknowledged parts of it were modelled on the New Zealand scheme. That’s interesting, because today, all New Zealanders of the pension age are free to work as much as they want, without losing their pension. They just pay income tax. If Australia is the land of the ‘fair go’, then why can’t we give older Australians a go, and let pensioners work?

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Help wanted – let pensioners work and reap the rewards

Other survey respondents said they wanted to work “To help a farmer somewhere”, “To support struggling small business operators”, or “To assist somewhere in an industry that is beneficial to the workforce.” “Worked in aged care, 20 years’ experience. Feel that my knowledge across all aspects of the industry would be of benefit to employers and employees. Would be interested in going back into the industry but financially not worth it.” Our research over the past few years is littered with examples of older Australians who are working but want to do more but can’t because there is no incentive.

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Age should not be a factor in workforce

In other words, the answer to our woes is right in front of us, pensioners. Not only are there plenty of seniors able to work, they are willing. Did you know as many as one in five aged pensioners would consider it? How do we know this? National Seniors asked them. Our recent poll of almost 4000 older Australians revealed 20 per cent of those on the aged pension say they would consider a return to work and 16 per cent have already done so. Now given there are more than two and a half million older Australians on the pension, that would mean a boost to the workforce of more than 500,000 people.

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So many willing to work

23 April 2022 | ‘ABSOLUTE SENSE’: There is growing support for a push to allow pensioners to work
without being penalised once their working week exceeds seven-and-a-half hours.

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Seniors’ lobby says plan could be election winner

A National Seniors survey of around 4000 older Australians in February revealed that a fifth of pensioners would consider re-entering paid work after retirement. Another 16 per cent had already done so. “Many seniors are struggling to make ends meet on the pension but the pension rules are a strong disincentive to paid work,” said the organisation’s chief executive Professor John McCallum.  “This traps pensioners at low quality of life including too many in poverty. National Seniors chief advocate Ian Henschke says allowing pensioners to earn more money would see them pay more in income tax, handing the government more revenue while also putting more money in pensioners’ pockets.

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Election 2022: Age pensioners itching for a job

National Seniors is calling on political parties to exempt ­income from the Age Pension means test, which would allow older Australians to keep the pension and the proceeds of their work, subject to normal tax ­arrangements. “Many seniors are struggling to make ends meet on the pension, but the pension rules are a strong disincentive to do paid work.
This traps pensioners at low quality of life, including too many in poverty. ”We live in a world where we’re likely to live until 90 and can work until 75. At the moment the settings are out of kilter with reality.”

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Let older Australians work, Liberal MPs tell Frydenberg

Liberal Party backbenchers are pushing Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to use next week’s budget to unleash a “grey army” of retired workers to boost the nation’s stretched employment market, calling for an end to an effective tax rate of more than 60 per cent on their incomes. In a policy that has strong support from retiree groups and even mining billionaire Gina Rinehart, several backbench members are pressing for Mr Frydenberg to trial a system under which people on the age pension could work without their entitlement being reduced. “If people want to work, let them and make it easy for them. At the moment, we have a system that actively discourages people from working.”

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The push to let seniors work without losing benefits

Costs are rising fast for retirees, forcing age pensioners to stretch their money a lot further. But our complex age pension system penalises seniors who want to earn extra money through paid work. Not surprisingly, National Seniors is lobbying for older Australians with limited retirement savings to be able to work without fiscal penalty.

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Why on earth are we stopping people who want to work from working?

This might appear to some to be a niche policy problem, but it is actually one of the most significant challenges Australians will face in coming decades. Aside from the fact that Australia’s old-age relative income poverty rate is much higher than our OECD counterparts, at around 23 per cent compared with an average of 14 per cent, it has long been acknowledged that aging populations create significant issues for the Budget and sustainability of public pension systems.

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Ian Henschke interview by Monika Kos

Perth schools have a shortage of traffic wardens just one week back to a new school year. Our aged care system is crying out for workers and there are multiple ‘Help Wanted’ signs at cafes and restaurants across the city, Australia’s in the grip of a skills shortage. Older Australians are happy to come out of retirement and work. Rinehart is a huge supporter because there are 60,000 jobs that need to be filled in WA at the moment. And we’re basically overlooking a huge proportion of the population.

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LET PENSIONERS WORK | Letter by Ian Henschke, National Seniors Australia chief advocate

Why should a pensioner pay more tax than Gina Rinehart? And she’s recently come out strongly against this unfair system.
How can we fix it? We need to remove the disincentives in our tax and transfer system. One way, is to introduce a universal pension. While some argue we shouldn’t give wealthy people a pension, there are ways to ensure they pay it back via the tax system. That’s what they do in a host of other countries.

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Chris Smith Breakfast program 2GB | ‘Change it!’: Government slammed for ignoring pension overhaul

Currently, pensioners working more than one day a week at the minimum wage will have their benefits reduced. National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke told Chris Smith national cabinet should have agreed on changes to the system yesterday. “The government isn’t even commenting on this … the only reason I think it is, is because it would mean they have to change the system. And if you have to change the system, change it!” Mining magnate Gina Rinehart has expressed her support for a pension overhaul in a letter to Chris Smith.

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2GB Money | Ian Henschke Interview

Well, I tell you the self-funded retirees or the self-funded, you know people, you know, it’s you know that The Gerry Harveys to Kerry Stokes the Gina Rineharts who are all still working. They get to keep their money when they earn it, and they just pay tax. When the pensioner works the pensioner gets 50 cents in the dollar taken away. And then when they earn above the, tax threshold, which I think is about 32,000 when they get another 19 cents to take it away. So they’re paying the highest marginal tax rates of any individuals in Australia effectively. Now, why is that? It’s because Someone somewhere sees the pensioners welfare. And when they see it as welfare, they say, oh, well, you’re not really entitled to keep any of that money. So I’m going to put my hand in your pocket.

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4BC Breakfast | Ian Henschke Interview

We know that in aged care. Who was a report done by the council for the economic development of Australia saying we need another 17000 people to work as care workers in aged care. So you’ve got all these jobs going. You need another 10000, I believe, a year in the health sector. You’ve got the Australian Hotels Association the other day, was supporting our push. We’ve got the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry supporting our push. We’ve even got the richest person in Australia, Gina Rinehart. She came out and gave a couple of speeches just recently, saying that in the west, they need 50000 extra workers in western Australia alone.

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‘No brainer’: Seniors group call for pension overhaul to combat labor shortage

Chief Advocate Ian Henschke says it’s a “no brainer”. “One of the big problems we’ve got at the moment is we need tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of workers,” he said on 6PR Breakfast. “And what happens if you are a pensioner and you work more than one day a week, and that’s only $240 … you lose 50 cents in your pension, and then you pay 19 cents in the dollar tax. “And that’s why Gina Rinehart, who’s the richest woman in Australia, has come out and said ‘fix it!’ Because it doesn’t make sense.”

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A rich source of skilled workers

Policymakers looking to retraining programs and skilled migrants to fill skill shortages as the economy roars back from the pandemic should not overlook a potentially rich source of experienced and often highly skilled workers – retirees. Many retirees would be happy to work for a few extra years, at least part time, to postpone dipping into their superannuation nest eggs, during which time of course they also would be paying income tax. More important, they would be contributing to an economy in which nine in 10 jobseekers unfortunately lack the requisite training needed for the vast majority of available roles, according to new analysis by the federal Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

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3AW Drive | Ian Henschke Interview

So if you add all that up, party, this is a no-brainer. I mean, decent jobs, and that pensioners would want to be doing, age pensioners would want to be doing. If you look at aged care, for example, the greatest proportion of people working in aged care,. Are over the age of 50, right? So as they head towards their pension date. At the moment, they know that if the Aged care home or the home care provider says to them, would you like to work every weekend for us? Because we do need people on the weekends, they’ll discover very rapidly, but once I’ve worked on that Saturday, the Sunday, they’ll start losing 50 cents in the dollar, and they’ll say, look, it’s not working.

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Pension system changes needed to keep older Australians in work

“If the government exempted work income from the income test for those with limited savings it would boost their income and savings in retirement, and boost the productivity of the nation,” Mr Henschke said. “We will nudge millions of Australians into, not out of, work.” The idea has support from business groups and figures. Mining magnate Gina Rinehart said the change would help ease the nation’s skills crisis. “We are a supporter of the government changing its policy where pension arrangements are concerned, so that pensioners can work should they so choose, without onerous tax resulting from their decision to work,” Ms Rinehart said.

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ABC Breakfast program interview Ian Henschke

We say, we need workers in aged care. We need workers at home care. We need works in the health system we need them Hospitality. Gina Rinehart in western Australia, with the board has been shut. She’s come out and said, look, this doesn’t make sense, because she’s probably losing workers in her business areas, which are pastoral areas. You know, the I think she’s got big parcel interest in mining interest. She has mining interest in some past ones, just you sold a few. But, yes, so she’s that, She’s saying, you know, let these people work and try and get a better taxation system going.

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Age-old answer to shortages | Push for change is growing

Older Australians should be able to work longer hours without it affecting their eligibility for the age pension, a seniors group says.If just 5 per cent more chose to work, that would be an army of 130,000 additional workers.” Mr Henschke’s comments come after mining billionaire Gina Rinehart, pictured, in November said her company Hancock Prospecting supported similar changes to help ease the nation’s skill crisis. “Hancock recognises the shortage of staff Australia-wide disrupts many projects and delays supplies,” Mrs Rinehart said. “We are a supporter of the Government changing its policy where pension arrangements are concerned, so that pensioners can work should they so choose, without onerous tax resulting from their decision to work. Hancock is a very patriotic company that supports investment in Australia, primary industries and jobs in WA and Australia. When mining does well, Australia does well.”

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