Cost of Living

 

Pensions

Australia is a strong, prosperous and generous nation.

That character has been built on the hard work and achievements of successive previous generations, who have collectively given Australians a quality of life that is the envy of the world.

Those generations worked long hours and for little pay, with no superannuation. Today, they are retiring into a life of poverty.

The Age Pension has not kept pace with the cost of living. Every year it falls further behind. Today, one third of age pensioners are living in poverty.[1]

It is an embarrassment that a developed nation that prides itself on its sense of fairness and generosity will not support those who built it.

Pensions are a fundamental part of the social contract between generations. Those who are able to work pay tax on our income to support pensioners, just as pensioners paid tax all their lives to support those before them.

Pensions are an entitlement, not a handout. A decent and humane society like Australia can afford to show its appreciation by giving older Australians some dignity in retirement.

The JLN will:

  Move to immediately increase the rate of pension by $70 a fortnight for singles and $100 for couples. 

  Double the value of the Heating Allowance for eligible Tasmanian pensioners to assist with heating costs, from $56 to $110 a year.

  Oppose increasing the age of eligibility for the Age Pension beyond 67. Not all of us are lucky enough to physically be able to work until we’re 70.

  Restore confidence in the sustainability of our retirement system by funding age pensions with savings, not debt.

  Promote sustainable population growth to refocus on Australia’s domestic priorities. For more information, click here.


[1] Rafal Chomik. "FactCheck Q&A: are one in three age pensioners living under the poverty line?." The Conversation, 6 Sept. 2017, http://theconversation.com/factcheck-qanda-are-one-in-three-age-pensioners-living-under-the-poverty-line-65715. Accessed 19 Sept. 2017.


Affordable Housing

The Jacqui Lambie Network believes that measure of a prosperous nation is how it treats its least fortunate. Providing a basic social safety net is a standard of decency we should all expect to be there for us if we need it.

Tasmania has more low income households than any other state or territory. One in three households rely on government pensions and allowances to keep the lights on.[i]

The JLN supports the principle behind the Liberal Government’s Affordable Housing Strategy 2015-2025, and recognises the need to keep the cost of delivering on the commitment under control by partnering with the community and with the private sector.

But while supporting the push for more affordable housing, it is simply not happening fast enough. The waitlist is growing faster than supply. The problem is getting worse.[ii]

It’s important that those who are already in or waiting for affordable housing are not left out. And those who need help now can’t wait another seven or eight years. We need to look at new ways of finding the money to fund affordable housing as an urgent budget priority.

In reality, investing in affordable housing isn’t just fair. It’s good for the economy. It creates hundreds of jobs in Tasmania’s small businesses across the construction sector.

Government must look beyond what is politically sellable and focus on what is economically sustainable. A surplus is no good if it comes at the expense of the state.

That's why the JLN will:

  Waive Tasmania’s historical social housing debt owed to the Commonwealth. Half of the state’s public housing budget is being spent on interest payments to the Commonwealth. Tasmania’s housing money should be spent on housing Tasmanians.

  Upgrade the energy efficiency of Tasmania’s affordable housing stock, which keeps bills low for tenants, creates jobs in installation and retrofitting and adds value to the state’s assets. 

  Support the Housing Affordability Strategy which aims to triple the number of new affordable houses by 2025.

  Trial an additional tax on foreign investors in residential properties, and direct the revenue into affordable housing projects.


[i] https://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/201215/AHS_Strategy_Final.pdf

[ii] Rhiana Whitson And Georgie Burgess. "Tasmanian family split as wait list for housing grows longer." ABC News. 2 Mar. 2017. Web. 1 Sept. 2017. <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-02/tasmania-public-housing-wait-grows-petrusma-promises-new-homes/8318486>


Energy

The Jacqui Lambie Network supports re-investment in Tasmania’s hydroelectricity, through reticulation of water supply, and maximising the export opportunities of this additional generation capacity by installing a second interconnector. This will allow Tasmania to generate more, export more, and earn more from its natural advantages.

Click here to read our complete Energy policy.

Sustainable population growth

Since the 2000 Olympics, Australia’s population has grown by more than 25 percent. We add a new Canberra to our population every year.

These new Australians have to live somewhere. They have to work somewhere. It means we need to invest in new roads, hospitals, schools and houses. It means that unless we accept a declining quality of life per person we need to invest more simply to maintain it.

Australia’s population is growing faster than any other developing nation. More than half of that growth is due to overseas migration[i].

Almost all of that growth is happening in major cities.

Adding a new Canberra to Sydney or Melbourne every year means finding the money to build the infrastructure that’s required to meet the needs of those new Australians.

Population growth requires we build two new hospitals, 61 public schools, 25 residential aged care facilities, and 145,000 new homes, every year.[ii]

Australia needs to have a conversation about whether we can afford to grow indefinitely. We can’t shy away from a conversation about how fast we want to grow, and why.


[i] Phillips, Janet. "Migration to Australia: a quick guide to the statistics – Parliament of Australia." Aph.gov.au, 18 Jan. 2017, http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1617/Quick_Guides/MigrationStatistics. Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.

[ii] The Australia Institute. "Let's talk about population." The Australia Institute, http://www.tai.org.au/talkaboutpopulation. Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.