Coalition slammed in Senate for changes to aged pension

AUSTRALIA'S peak advocacy body for pensioners has condemned the Coalition majority in a Federal Senate committee reviewing changes to the age pension, saying they are willing to press on with "unfair and unnecessary changes".

COTA Australia chief Ian Yates said evidence presented to the committee should have led them to reject the changes outlined in the May Budget.

The changes include freezing eligibility thresholds, changing deeming rates thresholds, increasing the qualifying age to 70 and changing indexation rates.

Mr Yates is calling for an independent Retirement Incomes Review, which has been supported by many others including ACOSS, the Blueprint for an Ageing Australia, and the Interim Report of the Financial Systems Inquiry.

"Pensioners across Australia are extremely fearful of how they will manage if the Government's measures are passed by the Senate and their standard of living is reduced year by year after 2017," Mr Yates said.

"Targeting pensioners to this extent to make up many billions of dollars in budget savings is unfair, especially when there are other obvious ways to share the load more equitably if you look at the huge superannuation tax concessions given to higher income earners and more wealthy retirees, which cost the Budget more than the pension does." - APN NEWSDESK