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How Will New Policy Changes Impact Senior Australians?

As dedicated and responsible citizens, we often await the release of federal budget measures with anticipation, seeking improvements that could enhance our lives. Let's delve into an organised analysis of the recent fiscal measures, and how they particularly benefit senior Australians. 

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Key Provisions in the Federal Budget: A Round-Up

Numerous budget provisions have been introduced, including:

  • Increased rent assistance payments

  • Expansion of Home Care packages

  • A hike in the minimum wage for aged care workers

  • Increase in the Aged Pension

  • Higher Job Seeker provisions for those aged 55+

  • Reduced cost of medicines and increased bulk billing of medical visits 

  • Tax incentives to bolster Build-to-Rent schemes, thus increasing the housing supply

  • Benefits for older women who have lost their homes through divorce or separation 

Insights from the Property Council of Australia

The Property Council of Australia's Retirement Living Council has shed light on crucial points for older Australians. 

The Retirement Living Council is thrilled about the prioritisation of rent relief and the care sector, which brings forth domestic relief for senior Australians residing in retirement villages and land lease communities nationwide.

The Federal Government is providing assistance to over 1.1 million Australians facing escalating rent costs by raising the top rates of Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 15 per cent, amounting to $2.7 billion.

Alongside this rent aid, the government is contributing $166.8 million to offer an additional 9,500 Home Care packages for older Australians who prefer to stay home longer, reinforcing Australia's attention to the care economy.

It is also committing $11.3 billion to support the Fair Work Commission’s decision to grant a provisional increase of 15 per cent to the minimum wages of numerous aged care workers, ensuring more than 250,000 workers reap the benefits of this resolution.

Key points relevant to senior Australian citizens

1. Aged pension and Veteran’s pension

The government's support for Seniors is expected to decrease due to lower-than-anticipated Age Pension recipients. However, it continues to back pensioners with a one-off credit, fostering the opportunity for them to work more hours without pension deductions.

The expected reduction by $699 million in 2023-24 and $1.6 billion over four years from 2023-24 to 2026-27 in Support for Seniors payments largely owes to fewer than anticipated Age Pension recipients in 2022-23, influencing forward estimates due to some Australians nearing retirement age choosing to postpone their retirement.

The government will allocate $3.7 million in 2023-24 to extend the provision allowing aged and veteran pensioners a one-time credit of $4,000 to their Work Bonus income bank and temporarily raising the maximum income bank until 31 December 2023. Under this provision, pensioners can earn up to $11,800 before pension reduction, encouraging pensioners to work or increase their working hours without forfeiting their pension.

2. Accommodation bonds

The Accommodation Payment Guarantee Scheme ensures the repayment of aged care residents’ refundable accommodation payments, with the Australian Government taking over recovery efforts in cases of insolvency or bankruptcy of the approved provider.

The Accommodation Payment Guarantee Scheme ensures the repayment of refundable accommodation payments of aged care residents (including refundable deposits and accommodation bonds) if the approved provider becomes insolvent or bankrupt and defaults on its refund obligations. The resident's rights to recover the amount from their approved provider are transferred to the Australian Government, enabling it to seek funds from the approved provider.

3. Aged care award 

The budget continues to support the improvement of wages and conditions for aged care workers. It provides funding to support the Fair Work Commission’s decision to offer a temporary increase of 15 per cent to modern award minimum wages for many aged care workers. 

The budget also allocates $81.9 million to develop and implement a new Aged Care Act and $72.3 million to endorse a new, stronger Aged Care Regulatory Framework.

The budget includes other initiatives such as a $139.9 million package to improve the accountability and transparency of approved aged care providers through enhancements to the Star Rating system and $12.9 million to develop, monitor, and enforce food and nutritional standards.

4. JobSeeker 

Eligibility for the higher rate of JobSeeker is expanding to recipients aged 55 and over, promising an increase in their base rate of payment and reflecting changes in consumer prices.

The government is widening eligibility for the existing higher rate of JobSeeker for recipients aged 55 and above who have been receiving the payment for nine continuous months or more. This measure currently applies to those aged 60 and above.

Approximately 52,000 eligible recipients will experience a $92.10 increase in their base rate of payment per fortnight.

Payments will also continue to be automatically indexed to reflect changes in consumer prices.

5. Housing and Commonwealth Rent Assistance

The largest increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) in over three decades is expected to benefit older people residing in retirement villages and land lease communities. 

The Budget has raised the maximum rates of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) by 15 per cent at a cost of $2.7 billion over five years, marking the most significant CRA increase in over three decades. This amendment will advantage older individuals residing in retirement villages and land lease communities receiving CRA. Around 1.1 million households receiving the maximum Commonwealth Rent Assistance rate will gain from this.

Additionally, the government is offering new incentives to stimulate the housing supply:

  • Cutting the withholding tax rate for eligible fund payments from managed investment trusts credited to newly constructed build-to-rent developments from 30 to 15 per cent.

  • Raising the capital works tax deduction (depreciation) rate from 2.5 per cent to 4 per cent per year, enhancing the after-tax returns for newly constructed build-to-rent developments.

From 1 July 2023, the government is broadening eligibility for the First Home Guarantee and Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee for individuals who have not held a property interest in Australia within the previous 10 years. This is anticipated to assist older women who lost their homes due to divorce or separation from a partner.

6. Home Care Packages

The government is investing significantly to support older Australians wishing to stay at home for longer, through the addition of 9,500 home care packages and the establishment of a single aged care assessment system. 

The government is investing $166.8 million to supply additional home care packages. The Budget also provides extra funding to continue in-home aged care reform, including $15.7 million to establish a single aged care assessment system.

The government will delay the start of the Support at Home Program until 1 July 2025 in response to sector feedback requiring a longer preparation period and extend grant arrangements for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme for an additional 12 months to 30 June 2025.

Home care wait times have dropped to a maximum of three months, according to the Department of Health and Aged Care’s most recent Home Care Packages Program Data Report for the December quarter. However, staff shortages remain a significant challenge.   

7. Medicare

Historic investments are being made in Medicare to provide better access and more affordable care for patients, with a tripling of the bulk billing incentive for certain patient groups and consultations.

The Budget represents a $5.7 billion investment to reinforce Medicare and provide patients with better access and more affordable care. It invests in additional home care packages for older Australians who wish to stay at home for longer.

The government is investing $3.5 billion to triple the bulk billing incentive for patients aged under 16 years, pensioners, and other Commonwealth concession card holders. This covers all face-to-face general practice consultations longer than six minutes and certain telehealth consultations.

A further $358.5 million is being invested in Medicare Urgent Care Clinics, including launching eight additional clinics by the end of 2023. Urgent Care Clinics will ensure patients have no out-of-pocket expenses and remain open for extended hours.

8. Reducing medicine costs

The government is phasing in increases to maximum dispensing quantities for numerous Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines, saving Australians time and reducing out-of-pocket costs.

From 1 September 2023, the government will gradually increase the maximum dispensing quantities for over 300 Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines. Some patients will be able to receive 60 days' worth of medication for stable, chronic health conditions, up from the current supply of 30 days.

This change will decrease visits to a pharmacy and general practitioners, saving Australians time and more than $1.6 billion in out-of-pocket expenses over the next four years. The government is continuing to provide Australians with more affordable and life-transforming essential medicines through PBS and other medicinal programs.

The Budget provides $2.2 billion for new and revised listings, including treatment for cystic fibrosis. This reform builds on the October Budget measure Plan for Cheaper Medicines, which reduced the general patient co-payment for PBS-listed medicines from $42.50 to $30 per script from 1 January 2023."


The latest Federal Budget illustrates the government's commitment to senior Australians, making life easier through various measures. From increasing rent assistance and expanding Home Care packages to raising the minimum wage for aged care workers, the government is making strides to enhance the lives of older Australians.

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