HITTING BACK Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says pensioners will be better off under Labor.
HITTING BACK Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says pensioners will be better off under Labor. Andrew Taylor

TAX ATTACK: Shorten's message to 16,000 Hinkler pensioners

OPPOSITION leader Bill Shorten has moved to reassure Hinkler's huge population of pensioners they won't be hurt by a Labor government.

His comments come as Hinkler MP Keith Pitt warns more than 1800 pensioners and 7100 Hinkler taxpayers will lose the tax refunds of their franking credits under Mr Shorten's proposed changes to tax policy.

"Locally an average refund of $1500 is money that could pay a rates bill, power bill or an insurance bill," Mr Pitt said.

More than half the people hit by Labor's new tax plan are over the age of 65 and could lose the equivalent of their annual electricity bills, according to a government analysis that seeks to blame Mr Shorten for slugging older Australians.

 

DISCONNECTED: Beris Woodrow has lived in Bundy all her life. Like many she feels the current political scene is failing to deliver for many pensioners.
DISCONNECTED: Beris Woodrow has lived in Bundy all her life. Like many she feels the current political scene is failing to deliver for many pensioners. "I'm disgusted with it all,” Beris said. "Every time I pick up the paper someone is spruiking about something and nothing seems to happen. I was born on a farm and believe when you do something, you do it right.” Adam Wratten

The government will take the message to voters in regional electorates this week in a bid to intensify pressure on the Labor leader over his proposed policy, which would raise $5.6 billion a year from 1.1 million taxpayers.

But, Mr Shorten has promised the more than 16,000 aged pensioners in Bundaberg, Labor would always look after them.

Addressing NewsMail readers directly, he said a raft of ALP policies would address living cost pressures.

"I know the aged pension is not a king's ransom, it's a modest sum," Mr Shorten said.

"That's why Labor has a strong set of policies to help pensioners with their living costs. Pensioners will always get a better deal under Labor.

"We're going to make it cheaper to see the doctor or a specialist, by abolishing the Medicare freeze. "We're going to help with rising electricity bills, by keeping the energy supplement for pensioners.

"And - unlike the LNP - we're not going to increase the pension age to 70. We believe Australia should have the world's best retirement savings system, not the world's oldest retirement age."

He accused the LNP of making "wild claims" about Labor's plans to close an obscure tax loophole that "92 per cent of taxpayers don't use and have probably never heard of".

"Under Labor's plan, no Australian will lose a cent from their super contributions, no one will lose a cent from their pension and no one will lose a cent from their share dividends," Mr Shorten said.

"I understand some people who pay no tax and have millions in super and shares will wish they were still getting a cash bonus from the tax office each year. But if we leave this loophole open, pretty soon it's going to be costing Australia $8 billion a year."

However, Mr Pitt warned pensioners they would be worse off from "Labor's tax grab".

 

WARNING: Hinkler MP Keith Pitt says the change is a
WARNING: Hinkler MP Keith Pitt says the change is a "tax grab”. LUKAS COCH

"Bill Shorten wants to have your cake and eat it too," Mr Pitt said.

"He claims no one will lose a cent from their share dividends, yet more than 1800 pensioners and more than 7100 taxpayers in Hinkler will lose their tax refunds of their franking credits under Labor's tax grab," he said.

"Locally an average refund of $1500 is money that could pay a rates bill, power bill or an insurance bill.

"If you've worked hard all your life, saved and paid taxes your entire life, Labor wants to take more from you. If you're a pensioner who's managed to put a little bit of money away, they want that to."

He said More than half of all refunded franking credits were paid to individuals who earned less than the $18,200 tax free threshold - including pensioners and self-funded retirees.

"And 97% of people who receive franking credit refunds have a taxable income below $87,000," Mr Pitt said.

"Make no mistake, Labor's tax grab will leave pensioners and retirees worse off."



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