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This is how well Australian pensioners are treated.

(42 Posts)
ivanhoe Wed 24-Aug-11 11:36:02

I was sent the following information from a friend in Australia about how well their pensioners are looked after.

The single aged pension is $670.90 per fortnight. we also get many concessions here, some federal and some state. Like concessions with power, rates, phone, car registration, medical we don't pay that at all, and some pensioners get help with rent if they don't own their own houses.

We also get a utility allowance paid every now and then to help as well, I think that is about $12 each...per quarter, well I think we still get it, can't remember the last time. Also if you are a carer for a partner or work as a carer you get a $600 a year bonus for caring for that person. You can care for up to 2 people.

The means test threshold for the pension, I know it is quite large like over $150,000 I think, and the home is not counted in that threshold. Hope this helps.

niceguy2 Wed 24-Aug-11 16:51:06

That's great. But like I said on my other thread. It's ok saying we should pay our pensioners more but what would you like to get that money from?

In Australia's case, I doubt they have such a dependency culture where we have stupid benefits like Tax Credits.

They also have a MUCH stronger economy than we have based mainly on their vast natural resources. Something we don't have.

So they have a tiny budget deficit and will be back in surplus come 2012/2013. Whereas the UK will be lucky to have a balanced budget by 2016.

Comparing Australian pensioners to UK is only fair if our economies/population was similar. They are nothing alike.

ivanhoe Wed 24-Aug-11 21:09:52

niceguy, you dont know much do you.

If you take into account the money we spend abroad in all manner of ways, plus our wars in the East.

Plus means testing pensioners is costing 15 to 20 times more of tax payers money than the restoration of the earnings link.

niceguy, you are so much like other people on this site and elsewhere, you are like a sheep, accepting everything you are told, without challenge.

The main difference between the UK, with Europe and Australia is that the EU and Australia are not purely short term market based economy cultures like us.

Both the EU and Australia use the role of their State with industry and manufacturing. Hence their's are sound economies, where ours are boom and bust.

niceguy2 Wed 24-Aug-11 21:31:53

I love your insults Ivanhoe. I just wish you backed your assertions up with real facts, not wishy washy claptrap.

We spend what, £62billion a year on pensions. Another £7.5billion on pension credits and about £2 billion on winter fuel allowance. That's just over £70 billion per year.

We spend about £5billion on "international development", £2b on the FCO. The war in Libya has cost about £250m (but some estimates say up to £1b). Afghanistan is apparently about £4b a year. A rough total of let's round it up to £12 billion.

So even if we completely do away with all those items above, it still doesn't plug the budget deficit gap, so we've still no real extra money to give to our pensioners.

Let's for a moment assume though that there is political will to do away with the above, take the £12 billion and give the entire lot to the pensioners. And let's assume that no-one minds not a penny goes on education, NHS and other worthy public expenditure. And we're happy to keep borrowing cos we love our pensioners so much. Great, you can up pensions by roughly 17%.

Would that sort of increase be enough for you?

As for your comments on our economy versus EU & Australia, i think there are areas we could agree upon like I agree the UK tends to look very short term and that's a bad thing. But it doesn't change the fundamentals. And that is we cannot just magic money out of thin air to give to whatever cause you think is worthy enough this week. The government does not have a magic money tree under No10.

Corvax Wed 24-Aug-11 21:36:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ivanhoe Wed 24-Aug-11 21:39:00

niceguy, I have a better idea, let's simply not bother about our elderly people, this way they can remain enemies of the State.

Sounds familiar ?

ivanhoe Wed 24-Aug-11 21:39:30

How about moving you.

Corvax Wed 24-Aug-11 21:42:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Corvax Wed 24-Aug-11 21:43:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsDistinctlyMintyMonetarism Wed 24-Aug-11 21:43:35

Erm, I'm in Australia right now. In fact it's 6.40am here in QLD.

The information from your friend is not the situation in this state.

There are frequent articles in the newspapers about how badly pensioners are managing over here in such a high inflation economy (well over 5% at the moment).

There is very little welfare state, a lot of the slack is picked up by charities. There is no NHS. It costs over $100 to visit the doctor (that's about 65pounds).

I'm looking forward to coming back to the UK. Of course it has problems, but there is no country in the world that is perfect - and that is the sad truth.

nancy75 Wed 24-Aug-11 21:49:13

670au dollars a fortnight is about £250 per week, not much different to here is it? also agree with MrsDistinctlyMintyMonetarism - you have to factor in the lack of NHS/need for private health care, which is obviously greater need as you get older.

Ponders Wed 24-Aug-11 21:54:49

Isn't the average age in Aus much lower than here anyway? Fewer pensioners relative to the rest of the population?

MrsDistinctlyMintyMonetarism Wed 24-Aug-11 21:55:37

Sadly Nancy the AU dollar is massively strong at the moment. So 670 dollars equates to about 400 pounds (roughly 1.5 dollars to the pound).

On the other hand you need to remember that stuff like food is correspondingly expensive. Bananas are $14 a kilo (over 10 pounds a kilo). Grapes are $15 a kilo.

We are in a nice but not extraordinary house and our rent is $900 a week.

Plus the strength of the dollar makes me worried for the Aussie economy anyway. When you have a whole system based on exporting natural resources which then require refining elsewhere there will come a point where it is uneconomic to extract it. Remember that there is still coal in Wales, it just costs too much to get it out of the ground.

MrsDistinctlyMintyMonetarism Wed 24-Aug-11 21:57:58

Yup, much younger population - lots of immigration. Lots of jobs that are empty.

There are only 20 million people over here.

OTOH lots of venomous creatures. My poor dog has just had to have antivenom as he picked up a paralysis tick (potentially deadly).

Ponders Wed 24-Aug-11 21:59:29

MrsDMM, £10 a kilo for bananas? shock

how much do things like milk, bread, salad, potatoes cost?

Ponders Wed 24-Aug-11 22:00:33

I would love to visit Aus but the creatures put me off sad

is your dog ok?

nancy75 Wed 24-Aug-11 22:02:48

MrsDistinctlyMintyMonetarism - I did say 670 over 2 weeks is close to £250 per week - Unfortunately I know how strong the dollars is - DP is Australian and we visit frequently - it gets more expensive every time we go. I have noticed in the last few weeks the dollar has dropped slightly, I think at one piont it was 1.3 to the pound (when dd was born 6 years ago we got almost 3 dollars to the pound!)

CliniqueMum Wed 24-Aug-11 22:08:11

As far as I understand they have compulsory superannuation, i.e. You work, you pay into a pension, your state entitlement gets deducted. In the UK currently you work, you opt in/out of pension, you still get the same state pension regardless. It would obviously cost the UK more. Isn't this why the UK is bringing in compulsory pensions in the next few years?

Ponders Wed 24-Aug-11 22:11:27

in any case converting to £ on the basis of exchange rates doesn't give any idea of what that amount is worth for living on in Australia (with bananas at $14 a kilo!)

How much is petrol, gas, electricity, water etc?

Scaevola Wed 24-Aug-11 22:13:17

NHS free at the point of use, lifelong, is an enormous difference between UK and Australian welfare - both services and costs.

Ponders Wed 24-Aug-11 22:15:24

& pensioners get free prescriptions here too, don't they, which could be scarily expensive.

ivanhoe's contact says "medical we don't pay that at all" - what does that mean?

nancy75 Wed 24-Aug-11 22:18:24

depending on where you are in Australia you don't have the expense of heating - dp is from Brisbane and had never lived in a house that had gas central heating. Obviously there is the extra cost of cooling, but I don't think many homes have proper air con - its mostly fans. From what I remember petrol is much cheaper than it is here. We don't drive while we are there, but fil did comment when they were here last year on how expensive petrol is. I think like anything it is swings and roundabouts - you don't have gas bills, but you can't just go to the doctor for free. i think alot of people in the UK see Australia as some kind of wonderful place where you buy a house for nothing and live for free, this again is probably based on the exchange rate a few years ago when we got alot for our pound. If you actually live and work there I think it is pretty comparble to the uk

niceguy2 Wed 24-Aug-11 22:18:27

niceguy, I have a better idea, let's simply not bother about our elderly people, this way they can remain enemies of the State.

Again, I've never said that. I've simply stated some facts and asked if a 17% rise would be enough to satisfy you? And if not how you would propose to do things differently. Just what do you propose???

We all will get old one day and my parents are bordering on retirement themselves so obviously it's in my personal interests to ensure pensioners are fairly treated.

But we're doing no favours to anyone by trying to pay more than we can afford.

Ponders Wed 24-Aug-11 22:23:08

& in any case it's a question of population distribution, it always has been - the current generation of workers pays, in taxes & NI, for current pensions. If there are fewer taxpayers relative to the number of pensioners the money just isn't there.

Maybe the Tories should be thinking about lowering the threshold for the 50% tax rate rather than doing away with it altogether hmm

MrsDistinctlyMintyMonetarism Wed 24-Aug-11 22:44:01

Petrol is $1.35 around us, diesel $1.45 a litre, so just under a pound, so yes, that is cheaper.

We are in Brissie too Nancy <waves> it's bloody cold here with no heating! I had to buy electric blankets for the kids. They sit and watch tv in the morning under their duvets!

You are right about the amount too - sorry misread where you said per week.

A lot of food costs depend where you buy from. Aldi are opening here a lot at the moment and I'm using them a fair amount. In Coles (which is a bit like Sainsbo's) a loaf of bread is around $4, 2 litres of milk between $3 and $5 (depends if it's on special), don't really buy potatoes and salad is again between $3 (for plain mixed leaves) to about $7 for anything more fancy.

We use about $60 (about 40pounds) a week in electricity (with no aircon on) for a 3 bed house. We have cylinder gas to run the cooker - each tank costs about $200.

At least here in QLD we didn't have to pay school fees. But you do have to buy all the books and consumables for class and school specific uniform which came to about $700 (over 400 pounds) for my two dc. That's for one year.

Honestly, comparing Australia and the UK is like comparing apples and beachballs. They are very very different. We had been told before we arrived that the cost of living was cheap. It isn't. Our hopes of saving whilst over here are gone, and we are coping. 18months to go. smile

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