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Your views: on retirement policy and natural gas

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Today, readers comment on pensions and superannuation, natural gas and climate change.

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Commenting on the opinion  piece: Retirement policies need to change now to avert a crisis

It must be about time that the family home is means tested.

Lots of individuals are getting a pension and sitting in a million plus house.

In most cases, these people as they age don’t need these large homes. The only ones who win are the beneficiaries. So I can only conclude they are cash poor but asset rich.

They have set it up this way with the current laws. This certainly must  be reviewed. Steve Janson

It’s time for a major overhaul of Australia’s antiquated and unfair aged pension system.

There is absolutely no provision whatsoever for consideration of exceptional cases to qualify for the pension. What one’s partner earns should have no influence at all to receiving a pension at the age of 65.  

Unlike Australia, New Zealand has a universal public pension scheme designed to afford all New Zealanders aged 65 and over a reasonable standard of living.

It is paid every fortnight at a weekly rate based on living arrangement and relationship status. There is no compulsory retirement age in New Zealand, and citizens are entitled to the pension at the age of 65 regardless of income, assets or employment status and history.

The NZ pension scheme provides economic security to older people by ensuring they receive a reliable income from the time they turn 65 until their death, regardless of their current or previous employment status.

NZ’s pension scheme provides a guaranteed income source for those who qualify, and thus they do not run the risk of outliving their savings, as is possible with other pension models.

Individuals who still suffer hardship under the NZ pension scheme may also be entitled to supplementary payments, such as an Accommodation Supplement or a Disability Allowance, which are subject to a means test. 

NZ pensions, in conjunction with available supplementary payments, ensures an income that provides for the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of older people, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services, and the right to economic security without employment.

A universal public pension scheme affords many benefits. Firstly, it does not disincentivise people from continuing to work once they have reached the age of 65, as their income will not affect their payment of the NZ pension.

It also encourages economic competition throughout working life, due to NZ citizens not being ‘penalised’ for their wealth, as they receive the same amount of pension no matter what their financial situation.

NZ also offer pensioners the security of not being able to outlive their money, as the NZ pension is paid until a recipient dies.

The NZ pension system also relies on supplementary payments being available, so as not to disadvantage people who are less well off. 

It’s time we look at N.Z.’s excellent pension system and address Australia’s archaic and totally unfair pension programme. – David Hall

What a great piece of forward thinking by Andrea Michaels to raise this as an issue now.

One thing I think this article would benefit from (and may reduce some pressure on retirement funds) is to mention the hit taken to the primary carers’ superannuation while on maternity leave.

We have three kids so have experienced three periods of no superannuation contributions (30 months) and more over a period that will span 10 years not being on a full salary.

We feel that superannuation contributions should be continued by the government while someone (primary carer) is on maternity leave.

Don’t get me wrong, my wife wants to work but the high cost (second highest living cost next to our mortgage) and absolute lack of availability and low quality of child care, the restrictive nature of kindy hours and the primary school after hours care system having such poor quality, its a logistical impossibility and if you did want to spend the money the quality is so bad it leaves you thinking to hell with it and just don’t bother trying to work.

Oh and did I mention that the long service leave that my wife has accrued over the past 10 years is calculated on the last 3 years of service, which has been a fraction of the full time service she has provided of the full period of her employment?

Averting a crisis – absolutely. – Shannon Hall

Commenting on the story: Cooper Energy weighs climate change risk and rewards

It is disingenuous for Cooper Energy (or anyone) to be suggesting natural gas is solving rather than driving climate change.

The most recent Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions reports that emissions from natural gas more than doubled in ten years.

The relevance of the claimed greenhouse gas emissions benefit of gas over coal diminishes if cleaner energy alternatives exist, as they abundantly do, and if gas reserves with higher levels of carbon dioxide composition are developed. There is also risk that fugitive emissions are higher than estimated in the Inventory.

A scientific report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last year highlighted that a rapid reduction in all fossil fuel energy production (coupled with a transition to renewables) is one of the key things we must do to avoid catastrophic climate change.

There is no time for delay.

With domestic gas prices sky high, what will it take for decision-makers to recognise that gas has become a lose-lose proposition – overly expensive, plus endangering a liveable climate? – Jim Allen

So Cooper Energy is worried about the specific risks of heat stress and other consequences of climate change on its business operations in South Australia.

What about the serious impacts that the fossil fuel industry of which it is part have caused to the whole planet and every living thing upon it?

Australia’s global emissions footprint is huge due to us being the world’s biggest exporter of coal and gas.

That must stop if we want our offspring to survive this century. – Bruce Adams

Whilst Cooper Energy acknowledges the link between more serious heatwaves and climate change, it is strange they promote natural gas as a solution.

Unfortunately, methane is 34 times stronger at trapping heat than carbon dioxide and a sizeable percentage of gas escapes during extraction and enters the atmosphere.

This is highlighted in the article, Methane leaks erode green credentials of natural gas, published in the prestigious science journal, Nature.

Although Cooper Energy’s assets might be safe from rising sea levels, the same cannot be said for Pacific islands and many parts of the world.

And while some might be pleased to know that the Cooper Basin is safe from bushfires, this will be little comfort to the many Australian’s who have lost their homes in recent disasters.

The 2019 United Nations Unite in Science report states that “climate impacts are hitting harder and sooner” than expected and “only immediate and all-inclusive action encompassing: deep de-carbonization” will meet the Paris Agreement.

This means we can no longer view natural gas as a transition fuel and articles such as the one in InDaily should tell the true story. – Theresa Parry

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