The health and finances of Sunshine Coast seniors are getting the attention they deserve from this year’s federal budget, with measures to boost superannuation and protect Medicare.
The Turnbull government’s 2016-17 budget initiatives are set to improve the bank balances of older Australians and give better access to health services.
Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien said a key budget measure would enable seniors to significantly boost their superannuation funds by downsizing their principle home and contributing the proceeds into their super fund.
Mr O’Brien said the changes would encourage people over the age of 65 to downsize into compact accommodation and free up larger housing for younger families.
Single seniors can contribute $300,000 from the house sale into super and couples $600,000.
Mr O’Brien said the pensioner concession card would also be reinstated to seniors impacted by the asset change test in January, meaning about 1,580 Sunshine Coast pensioners will be able to access discounts again.
“A total of 54,000 senior welfare recipients on the Sunshine Coast will also receive a one-off cash payment this winter to help with the cost of power bills,” said Mr O’Brien.
“The Energy Assistance Payment will be $75 for singles and $125 for couples.
“All these financial measures help reduce living costs for seniors on the Sunshine Coast.
Mr O’Brien said the Turnbull government was also committed to protecting Medicare and ensuring all Australians had better access to bulk-billed services.
A Medicare Guarantee Fund will be established to ensure Medicare’s future and more medicines will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
“Bulk-billing rates on the Sunshine Coast are already at 86.5% and the Turnbull government wants to ensure even more people do not have out-of-pocket expenses when visiting doctors,” said Mr O’Brien.
The Sunshine Coast’s 3,538 war veterans will also have access to free mental health support where needed.
Mr O’Brien said seniors had built this nation and deserved to have their living standards, interests and health looked after in their older years.
“Older Australians have contributed so much to the good of this country and continue to do so when they retire,” said Mr O’Brien.
“Our government wants to do all it can to help superannuants who want to save more, to look after struggling pensioners and to ensure everyone has easy access to vital health care services.
“The Sunshine Coast is one of the most beautiful places to retire but we can make life easier for people through our budget policies.
“We want to ensure there are better days ahead for older Australians,” Mr O’Brien said.