Seniors need better than budget ‘status quo’

National Seniors has welcomed the Queensland Government’s decision to retain financial concessions for older Australians, but said that maintaining the status quo simply isn’t enough.

Ian Henschke, National Seniors’ Chief Advocate, said that the struggle to make ends meet is a blight on older age.

“Older Queenslanders make a significant contribution to the Queensland economy and broader society so, while we welcome the maintenance of these rebates and subsidies, we’re disappointed that the upcoming budget hasn’t gone further.

“In reality, unless adequate indexation is applied to electricity, water and rates concessions annually, their real value will decline over time. They must be indexed to keep pace with inflation and the ever-increasing cost of living.”

Noting that Queensland is “out of step” with a number of states and territories which have recognised the need to support downsizing, he called for a seniors’ concession for stamp duty.

“Waiving stamp duty on the sale of houses that sell below $680,500, with the value of the concession declining on a sliding scale up to $895,000 – as is the case in the ACT – would encourage older Australians to move into more suitable and age-friendly homes.

“Our members tell us that they’re reluctant to downsize because of high costs and government charges. Unfortunately, the high cost of stamp duty – along with the cost of moving, the lack of seniors friendly housing options and the impact of surplus funds on pension eligibility – are key disincentives to transitioning to a home that better meets their changing needs and budget.”

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Northern Territory, Victoria and Tasmania offer seniors a stamp duty concession to encourage downsizing, but Queensland does not.

/Public Release. View in full here.