The Minister for Social Services’s answer to my question in the Federal Parliament today about the impact of changes to the income test for defined benefit pension recipients is misleading.

Of course we need to means test government payments to ensure that wealthy people don’t receive government assistance. But most of the people who will be affected by this change are not wealthy – in fact 68% of those affected have a defined benefit income of less than $35,000.

The Tasmanian Association for State Superannuants calculates that the average reduction in pensions because of these changes is $86 per fortnight or $2,242 per year. This is an enormous reduction for people who are receiving modest incomes.

It’s also unfair for the Government to have sprung this decision on superannuants, who have paid into their super fund throughout their working life and made decisions some time ago about how to manage their retirement benefit. If nothing else, these changes should have included grandfather provisions to protect existing superannuants.

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