The Australian government will abolish a plan to boost the retirement age from 67 to 70, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison no longer sees the policy necessary.
“I don’t think we need that measure any longer when it comes to raising the pension age,” Morrison told the Nine Network on Wednesday in response to a viewer’s question.
The comments came as a surprise, as there was no formal approval from the cabinet, which Morrison said he had previously consulted. He said that the cabinet will ratify the pension age reversal next week, keeping the pension age at 67.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack confirmed the meeting, saying the original policy was “probably a step too far,” and that those in physically demanding jobs would appreciate the reversal.
“If you’re a tradie or a brickie or a shearer in rural and regional Australia, you don’t want some suit in Canberra telling you you’ve got to work until you’re 70,” McCormack told Sky News.
The move nixes a policy from former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2014, as part of a controversial budget plan to cover the costs of Australia’s aging population.
Although the pension age hike was never made law, it was still an official government policy until now. Originally, the age would rise from 67 by six months every two years from 2025 until 2035, when it would hit age 70. The policy was expected to save roughly $3.6 billion in its first four years.
The retirement age is currently at 65.5. It will increase to age 67 in July 2023.