Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Shepparton tradies feel pension pain

Tradies in Shepparton claim the proposed increase in the pension entitlement age will hurt them physically and financially.

RIAHN SMITH May 5, 2014 3:12am

Painters Dan Stephens and Nick Lowden say they won't be able to do the physical aspects of their job at 70.

An increase to Australia’s retirement age could damage tradies’ work prospects, two Shepparton painters say.

Painters Dan Stephens and Nick Lowden said raising the pension entitlement age could put their health at risk and hit their hip pocket with retraining costs.

On Friday, Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey confirmed plans to lift the pension age from 65 to 70 as part of next week’s budget.

Mr Hockey said the increase would be introduced from 2023 and would not affect people already entitled to the pension.

Mr Lowden, 21, said doing physically demanding work was not sustainable at 70.

‘‘I’ve only been in the job for a few years, but I can already see the effect on your knees, your back,’’ he said.

‘‘How is any tradie going to be able to work at 70, even 65 is late to be working as a tradie.’’

Mr Stephens, 42, said planning for later retirement would take its toll on workers.

‘‘We’re going to have to work that much harder while we’re younger to put extra money into our super, so that we can still retire when we’re at an age we can enjoy it,’’ Mr Stephens said.

‘‘The other option is to bite the bullet and hire a younger bloke, but that’s more money coming out of your pocket and how many small businesses are able to do that?’’

‘‘Plus, when the kids are bringing the grandkids around we won’t have time to spend with them because we’ll be working.’’

Mr Stephens said while moving into education or becoming a sales representative were possible alternatives, both would come at a cost.

‘‘Unless you find the right employer who’ll pay for it, that’s just something else coming out of your pocket,’’ he said.

‘‘And even if I wanted to retrain myself, I don’t think I could do it.

‘‘To try and learn a different job when they could get someone a lot younger for half the price and train them in probably half the time, it’s going to make it really difficult for people of my generation.’’

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