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Changes To Age Pension Portability Discriminatory

Changes To Age Pension Portability Discriminatory Says COTA

From January 2017, pensioners will have their pension reduced if they’re abroad for six weeks or more. Last week legislation to change Age Pension portability passed the House of Representatives.  If the changes pass the Senate, the number of weeks an Age Pension recipient can be outside Australia before their payments are affected will be reduced from 26 weeks to six.

The changes are part of the government’s policy to reduce the cost of social services.
Many have called the changes mean and discriminatory particularly as it affects older people who migrated to Australia and still have family in their original counties.

COTA believes the change is excessively punitive and inequitable in its impact on Australians not born in this country and who maintain cultural and familial ties to their place of birth. As around 40 per cent of Age Pensioners were not born in Australia the impact of the measure is likely to be significant and unfairly borne by one segment of our community.

Ian Yates CEO of COTA Australia said: “We know from our members and constituency that it is not unusual for older Australians born overseas to take ‘the one big trip’ to their country of birth when their working lives are over. They make the most of their time there, given the cost of travel, spending an extended period seeing family and friends before returning to Australia. COTA does not see this as unreasonable.
“We are also aware that some retirees, particularly in later life, travel to their country of origin when a relative or close friend is gravely or terminally ill, or indeed when they themselves may be in such circumstance and would benefit.

This news was categorised Programs, Working for Change and tagged with .

13 Responses to Changes To Age Pension Portability Discriminatory

  1. Bella says:

    Why has there been no lobbying for a compromise position as there is such a vast difference between 6 and 26 weeks …… why not argue for an approved period somewhere between 15 – 20 weeks or at least pressure for more than 6 weeks ! Perhaps 26 is not feasible to argue and pass in the Senate but surely someone can lobby for an extension beyond only 6 weeks !!

  2. bmorton says:


    Thanks for your feedback.

  3. Sue says:

    I agree with the previous post. Also I can’t remember reading anything about this previously in the press. What if a pensioner who is overseas falls ill? This 6 weeks’ time period will only add to the stress of the situation. If the pensioner were still in Australia their pension would be paid. Are pensioners to be penalised just because they want a longer time period to visit relatives or take a holiday while other citizens are not penalised? Considering that saving for a holiday while on the pension is a great achievement it is discriminatory to treat pensioners like this.

  4. ruth skewes says:

    It will cost the government more if they reduce time overseas to 6 weeks and cancel a person’s pension. THEN a person will need to reapply!!!!

  5. nola Bartak says:

    You work hard all your life and retire to hopefully enjoy some holidays overseas. Some holidays/tours are longer than this..why should you lose your hard -earned pension just because you go on a longish holiday. The change from 26 to 6 weeks is severe and extreme, and 16 weeks could be more realistic.

  6. John says:

    I was born here – and have worked me butt off and paid tax all my working life.. I am in along term partnership with someone who has been in Australia for near on 30 years.. Her elderly mother is not well and I was going to travel with her overseas. So she can be with her mother, for a couple of months..
    This would change everything for us – Just another example..
    What is happening to this country.. Give us a break..

  7. Geoff Richards says:

    This is penny pinching yet again attacking ther elderly and vulnerable and ‘home grown’ aussies are just as effected as our wonderful ‘imports’.
    As a ‘born local’ pensioner I look forward to my yearly overseas cultural holiday break, usually of a learning and cultural style..
    Generally this planning uses two+ low cost group tours with location breaks for rest sometimes for part from a cruise ship base . So it is NOT a ‘move every day’ program, we seniors need more and spaced travel time.
    Staying away over a longer time period helps to justify flight up-grades to better enjoy that aspect, rather than expend on a number of still expensive pure ‘economy’ overseas flights to separate holiday tours.
    This absence is not indulgence, its part of healthy retirement living.
    I save all year and one expends living expenses every day regardless of location. There is also an impact upon travel insurance cost, one longer trip versus 3-4 short ones.
    For me a 2-3 month absence is a far more practical, healthy, economic option – now to be penalized.

  8. bmorton says:

    Hi Sue

    Thanks for your feedback.


  9. bmorton says:

    Hi Ruth

    Thanks for your feedback.


  10. bmorton says:

    Hi Nola

    Thanks for the feedback


  11. bmorton says:

    Hi John

    Thanks for your feedback and sharing your story.


  12. Tyrone says:

    This is just madness we have extremists in our political landscape voted in by pensioners ,we are the majority in this country and yet we elect these intellectual psychopaths to govern this country born out of hard work of migrants that has the right to live where ever they want the same rights we offer refugees . The pensioner is not a fool nether are they backward in coming forward to unite in its stand to vote this government out of office, and demand that the senate throw out this irresponsible proposal in the rubbish bin where it belongs and reorganize the value of our elderly citizens , when will we have a sensible debate that will include the cost savings to the government when these pensioners go overseas and do not use the concessions they are entitled to including medical services , lets get out on the streets and show these lowlife politicians that we are not be used as fodder for their incompetence in managing the economy.

  13. bmorton says:

    Thanks for your feedback.