Hockey flags changes to superannuation access

FEDERAL Treasurer Joe Hockey has flagged possible changes to superannuation rules before the next election.

In last week's budget the Government confirmed the retirement age would be lifted to 70 by the year 2035.

During an appearance on the ABC's Q&A program last night, Mr Hockey told the audience he was now looking at areas such as superannuation to better prepare Australians for the change.

Mr Hockey told host Tony Jones that the Government would have "more to say about retirement incomes further down the track", later confirming it would be 'in this term'.

Jones: So it's on the cards that we could see, in this term, a change to the year - the age - at which you can access your super?

Hockey: Well, I think it's something that we need to have a proper process to discuss with all the affected stakeholders.

More on this at ABC News

Previously, Mr Hockey said said it was not right that despite the billions in super tax concessions,  four out of five Australians, once retired, would be receiving some form of government benefit by 2050.

The comments come after Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss defended comments he made about seniors spending their superannuation on luxury cruises and then expecting to be able to go on the pension.

"I offered no criticism, passed no judgement, nor made any disrespectful remarks about pensioners and superannuants,'' Mr Truss said in a letter to his local paper.

"Words like "squandering", "blowing" and other inflammatory language were used by commentators and did not appear anywhere in my speech,'' Mr Truss wrote.

"They are not my words and they certainly do not reflect the intention or tone of my speech.

"I respect the right of pensioners and superannuants to make their own decisions about the way in which they use their income.

"I do not presume to provide such gratuitous advice to anyone.

"People work their entire lives and quite rightly expect that the age pension will be available to them at the end of their working lives as a safety net.

"The purpose of my address was to explain the Budget and why the Government needed to make important decisions to ensure Australia's future. 

"My concern is to ensure the sustainability of the age pension so it will always be available to those who need it.

"In Australia, between 2010 and 2050 the number of people aged 65 to 84 is expected to double and the number of people 85 and older is expected to quadruple.

"One in three people born in Australia today can expect to live until they are 100.

"Even Bill Shorten said in his Budget reply speech that there will only be two and a half people in the workforce for every person over 65 within 50 years.

"The Age Pension currently takes up 10 per cent of all Commonwealth spending - $40 billion this year, but it will rise to $72 billion in a decade on current trends - and it will keep rising as our population ages.

"We have to make sure that safety net is secure, and capable in the future of catching the people who need it.''