Column - Weekender Herald 1 November

01 Nov 2018

Australians are getting older and living longer. It’s an inevitable outcome of consistently having one of the highest standards of living in the world, better nutrition and good health care.

With the proportion of older Australians in our population rising steadily, there’s increasing pressure on our nation to plan and prepare to support and care for them.

It’s also extremely important that we recognise and encourage those Australians who are planning and preparing to ensure they can look after themselves, and the many thousands who have already done so.

They’re not only doing the right thing by themselves, but by everyone else as well.

By working hard, saving their money and making good investments – often in Australian businesses employing Australian workers – they’re saving taxpayers many billions of dollars.

And while their families would very likely be happy to help shoulder some of the cost, these Australians are also ensuring it won’t fall to their children and grandchildren.

These Australians worked hard all their lives, paid their mortgages, raised their families and contributed to their community.

Now unfortunately, they are in Mr Shorten’s sights, due to Labor’s policy to abolish the tax refunds on share dividends. This policy would mean around 875,000 Australians – including 7,600 people in Mayo – will now effectively pay tax twice on what they earn from their savings.

Experts everywhere are highly concerned about Labor’s policy, noting it will discourage people from being self-reliant. This is a blatant grab on the people who have carefully saved for their retirement.

Indulging in the politics of envy, Labor dismisses these hard-working Australians as wealthy and undeserving, but nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, more than half a million Australians hurt by this policy will be on taxable incomes of less than $18,200, including many self-funded retirees and future pensioners.

This policy will drive more people on to the aged pension – so how does this help Australia’s economy?

And it will remove the incentive for generations of Australians to do exactly what these people have done: work hard, save money and invest in Australian businesses and jobs, to look after themselves.

Far from punishing these hundreds of thousands of retirees, we should be acknowledging their contribution and ensuring they can keep the money they’ve worked so hard to save and invest in their country.