Pension rules relaxed for senior workers

·2-min read

The Albanese government plans to relax rules so that seniors can work extra hours without losing their pension entitlements.

The measure, designed to ease pressing labour shortages, was one of 36 "concrete plans" flagged by the treasurer in his closing speech at the jobs and skills summit.

"In order to get more older Australian workers into the workforce, we need to make that easier by relaxing the various work tests," Dr Chalmers said.

Under the changes, pensioners will receive a one-off income credit so working seniors can earn an extra $4000 over this financial year without losing their pension.

With housing shortages a key issue impacting the mobility of the workforce and the ability to boost migration, Dr Chalmers also said the government planned to attract more funding from super funds into housing projects.

"We will make it possible for $575 million in the National Housing Infrastructure Facility to invest in affordable housing by attracting financing from super funds and other sources of private capital," he said.

"So there's an important step there on social and affordable housing."

The government has also committed to $1 billion in joint federal-state funding for fee-free TAFE in 2023 and a boost to the skilled migration cap.

Work restrictions on international students will also be relaxed, and extra funding has been allocated to clear the visa backlog.

As well, workplace relations laws will be modernised to include making bargaining "accessible for all workers and businesses".

"We will amend the Fair Work Act to strengthen access to flexible working arrangements, make unpaid parental leave more flexible and strengthen protection for workers against discrimination and harassment," Dr Chalmers said.

The government will also introduce equity targets for training places and 1000 public sector digital apprenticeships.

Dr Chalmers said a similar number of outcomes would be the subject of further work following the gathering of more than 140 representatives from business, community groups and various levels of government.

"Thank you for demonstrating our country's capacity to come together when we need to find that common ground in a common cause and for the common good," he said.

The government has published a document setting out the outcomes.