The Abbott government is holding a review of current pension rules which could result in Australian workers who were born beginning 1959 receiving their pension at age 70 in 2029 from 67.
The changes are being made to make the aged-pension system sustainable in the long term and not provide budget savings by cutting pensions. That would mean pensions would not be changed, only the minimum age that pensioners would receive their pensions.
The Productivity Commission and the Grattan Institute support the initiative, but seniors and the Labor Party criticised the proposal. Opposition spokeswoman for families Jenny Mackling pointed out that the legislated hike in qualifying age to 67 has not yet been implemented.
The Rudd government initially raised the pension age to 67 from 65 during the 2008 budget. It was scheduled to start in 2017 with six month increases in qualifying age every two years.
By further raising the qualifying age to 70, the federal government is expected to save $6 billion a year beginning in 2023.
Using the changes in the pension age to hit again the previous Labor government, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Tuesday, quoted by The Australian, "If there is one lesson to be learned from the political quagmire that the previous government got itself into, it is: keep your commitments. So we will keep them."
He added, "So we will be doing that but, as for pensions and pensioners, I am confident that pensioners will be better off because under this government they will lose the carbon tax, but keep the compensation."
However, after seven months in charge of government, the Abbott-led administration has not yet repealed the carbon tax because the measure encountered problems in the Senate.
Treasurer Joe Hockey also pointed out that it was the Labor government which initially initiated hiking the qualifying pension age by two years, but he justified the Abbott government's similar move that one-third of Australians born in 2014 would probably live until 100.
"Quite frankly, we need to redesign our systems to manage the fact, and celebrate the fact that we're all living longer and we want to maintain a good quality of life along the way ... We need to have a health and welfare system that appropriately deals with the changing demographics of the nation."
The move would make Australians among the oldest workers in the developed world since Canada will finish hiking its pension age to 67 by 2029, Germany also in the same year and the U.S. by 2036.