The Benevolent Society is urging everyone in aged care to support its campaign to #fixpensionpoverty, which includes calls for an independent Pension Tribunal to determine a fair base rate.
The not for profit organisation launched the #fixpensionpoverty campaign last September after releasing a research report, together with Research organisation Per Capita and The Longevity Innovation Hub, that indicated the Age Pension was woefully inadequate.
The core message of the report was that many older Australians living on the Age Pension live at such a low living standard that it is undignified, insufficient and inadequate.
During NSW Seniors Festival, which runs from 3-12 March, The Benevolent Society will be reminding people that many older Australians living solely on the Age Pension are living in poverty, particularly those renting on the private market.
“It is clear that the Age Pension is inadequate. It is unacceptable that people who have contributed to society all their lives are forced to live at or below the poverty line,” Dr Kirsty Nowlan, Executive Director, Strategic Engagement, Research and Advocacy at the Benevolent Society said.
Currently, increases to the Age Pension are determined by complex two-tiered benchmarking and indexation every six months, not closely linked to community living standards, price changes and actual cost of living.
A Pension Tribunal will provide an independent, expert mechanism for setting a fair base rate for the Age Pension.
The Benevolent Society has been advocating for a decent Age Pension for 120 years. It began in 1896 with the drawing up of a manifesto for the Old Age Pensions League which ran for over five years. Prior to this call for a pension, assistance was provided to people in need by charitable organisations like The Benevolent Society.
Former Benevolent Society President, Arthur Renwick, led the campaign resulting in the introduction on an Old Age Pension in NSW in 1901, the first of its kind in the world. In the same decade, an age pension was introduced in Victoria, Queensland and the by the Commonwealth.
“Advocating for support to enable people to live a better life has been a core mission of The Benevolent Society from its inception,” Dr Nowlan said.
“We will be pursuing our advocacy agenda and engaging in community discussions with older Australians and leaders across Australia to affect change in this vital area.”