House debates

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Distinguished Visitors

Pensions and Benefits

2:14 pm

Photo of Rebekha SharkieRebekha Sharkie (Mayo, Centre Alliance) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Interest rate cuts are hurting Australia's pensioners. Why doesn't the government automatically pass on changes in the RBA cash rate to the pensioner deeming rate?

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Mayo for her question. It's a significant issue. As she would be aware, last year we made some changes to the deeming rates so the lower level deeming rate is at one per cent. That was at a cost of $600 million to the budget over four years and benefited around one million Australians. When it comes to setting the deeming rates, you need to take into account investments and a range of assets—superannuation and shares in terms of managed funds, and term deposits—not just the cash rate. Obviously, this a serious issue that we have under consideration and will be part of our broader response.