The Age Pension has not kept up with Australia’s changing economy.
The Fix Pension Poverty campaign is calling for the Age Pension to be set by a panel of experts making evidence-based decisions.
Even if everything else in your life has gone well - you own your home, have enjoyed good health and have other savings the age pension affords no protection against poverty and disadvantage.
When the Age Pension was introduced in Australia 110 years ago, it was one of the first in the world and was much praised for addressing poverty. Nowadays the Age Pension fails to meet the increased cost of basic necessities like rent, utilities and healthcare.
People past retirement age are much more at risk of poverty compared to people of other ages. Even by international comparisons Australians don't fare well: in 2014 Australia had the second highest rate of income poverty for people aged over 65 in the OECD, with 33.5% of people aged over 65 experiencing income poverty.
Many people have told us, and our research has confirmed, that struggling to afford the basics means older people are forced into tough choices like choosing whether to heat your home or risk your health, see a dentist or mash your meals, or – increasingly for older woman – ending up homeless. In such a rich country, these are the decisions that we force onto older Australians. We can and should do better.