AUSTRALIA’S government said today that it wants to lift the pension entitlement age to 70 by the year 2035.
Treasurer Joe Hockey said the previous Labour government had planned to raise the age from 65 to 67 in 2023 and the new administration of conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott wanted to take it further.
“Increasing the pension entitlement age to 70 — we are intending for that to occur in 21 years’ time,” said Mr Hockey, who is due to hand down his first national budget on May 13.
The increase would make Australia’s entitlement age the highest in the developed world.
Australia has no statutory retirement age but men have been entitled to the pension at age 65 and women at 60 since it was introduced in 1908.
Mr Hockey said any Australians getting the pension now would not be affected but he added that the government’s view was that the “age of entitlement” was over.
“It is hugely important we have long-term planning,” he said.
Australia has to plan for an ageing population and in 2009 the former government said that it would gradually push back the age at which people could claim the state pension to defuse what it called a “demographic time-bomb.”
The Actuaries Institute of Australia estimates that over the next 30 years the number of Australians aged 65 or over will double from 3.5 million to 7 million and account for 22 per cent of the population.