Pensioner Roy Schuurs.
Pensioner Roy Schuurs. Mike Knott BUN040418SCHUURS1

Bundy pensioner backs part-time work push for elderly

BUNDABERG'S Roy Schuurs has seen firsthand how tough pensioners are doing it in the region.

The assistant treasurer of Bundaberg's Pensioners League knows the tough decisions many of his friends are making as living costs rise.

He says once shelter, food and clothing needs are met, there's not much money left over.

Mr Schuurs yesterday backed a push from National Seniors Australia to allow age pensioners to earn up to $10,000 a year without losing any of their benefits.

National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke is lobbying the Federal Government to make the change following research which showed the key issue confronting the majority of full age pensioners was adequacy to cover the cost of living.

Mr Henschke said many aged pensioners were willing and able to work part-time, but a loss of pension income was a major disincentive.

Under the existing system, known as the Work Bonus, age pensioners can earn up to $250 a fortnight to a maximum of $6500 a year without penalty.

Raising the limit to $10,000 a year would lift the amount to $385 fortnightly. With the single age pension, including supplements, set at $894.40 a fortnight, the increase meant pensioners would be earning $540 more than the minimum wage a year, or an extra $21 a fortnight.

Mr Schuurs understands the logic, but questions where pensioners would find suitable work in Bundaberg.

He said the $6500 limit had been there for several years and hadn't increased despite living costs rising.

"In theory this is good and it will help a lot of people," Mr Schuurs said.

Mr Henschke said Australia's ageing population meant the number of people aged 65 and over was expected to increase from 15 per cent now to more than 20 per cent by 2042 and 25 per cent in 2062.

Many older people would not have sufficient superannuation to produce adequate retirement income and it was imperative those who wanted to continue working part-time were able to do so.

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