Seniors could soon be allowed to work more hours and still receive their pension under a government plan to fix national labour shortages.
The Albanese government’s plan would allow people over the age of 66 and six months to work extra hours and earn an income without losing their aged pension entitlement.
Currently, seniors are limited to earning $490 a fortnight and for every $1 earned over this, a pensioner loses 50 cents of their fortnightly pension.
The plan will be debated at next month’s Jobs and Skills Summit in Canberra.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said on Thursday the summit will be about agreeing on more participation and how Australia fixes crippling labour shortages.
“We’ve got a national unemployment rate around 3.5 per cent, we have the challenges that brings around skills shortages and labour shortages,” Chalmers said.
“We want to hear people’s ideas.”
Chalmers is however cautious of what the plan would cost the government.
The plan has been endorsed by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.
National Seniors Australia has backed the government plan and recommended “employment income be exempt from the income test for pensioners with limited savings or assets”.
“This would help Australia meet worker shortages and retain skilled and qualified staff while there is uncertainty about immigration,” the organisation said.
“The exemption could be applied economy-wide or, alternatively, it could be targeted at specific sectors e.g. health and aged care, tourism, agriculture and hospitality, and geographic areas e.g. regional Australia where demand is high and labour supply is low.”
A parliamentary inquiry examining the increase in the pensioner workforce is also set to deliver a report next month.