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Govt to cut 236,000 pensions

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Thousands of retirees are set to lose their pensions while others will receive more after the Federal Government’s largest budget measure, the tightening of pension eligibility, passed both houses of Parliament.

The $2.4 billion savings initiative went through the Senate late Monday night, just hours after it cleared the House of Representatives, after a deal between the Coalition and the Greens last week,

The proposal will reduce pension cheques for 235,756 seniors and cut 91,378 people from the part-pension.

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While more than 170,000 pensioners with low and modest levels of assets will have their pension increased by about $30 a fortnight.

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale said he was surprised the measures were so controversial and had failed to attract support from Labor.

Mr Morrison says it is a win for pension fairness and  the budget bottom line.

Mr Morrison says it is a win for pension fairness and the budget bottom line. Photo: Getty

While many of the Abbott Government’s budget measures “stink”, the pension changes make a modest improvement to the system, he said.

“I’m staggered that we’re here,” Mr Di Natale told the upper house on Monday night.

“I thought this would be a non-controversial debate.”

Labor said they opposed the changes because they would reduce part pensions for 235,756 people and cut them entirely for 91,378 other pensioners with large amounts of assets.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison said it was both a win for pension fairness and for the budget bottom line.

“This is a fairly emphatic endorsement of the Government’s policy, but also of the Government’s budget,” Mr Morrison said.

“The have-a-go budget is gaining real traction in the Senate.

“Some $3.5 billion worth of savings passed the Senate, not just the pension assets test change but also the seniors supplement passed.”

However, Labor’s Jenny Macklin said the Greens had been “completely duped” as the Government had made it clear they would not change tax concessions on superannuation.

with AAP

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