Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Australia’s largest migrant community organisation, the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, hit back at Federal Government indications to change the eligibility age of the age pension, saying it opposes any move to lift the pension age to 70.I believe it’s time for the country to allow pensioners to live the rest of their lives with dignity.Theo NomicosThe chairman of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils (FECCA), Joe Caputo, told Neos Kosmos he believes raising the pension age would be impractical for many workers from a non-English speaking background.“The majority of people who have language difficulties are in manual, unskilled jobs and usually they are skilled in industry and other manufacturing industries. These are jobs that of course often take their toll on people’s physical capacity to continue to work as they get older,” he said.The reaction comes after Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey indicated last Sunday that a rise in the pension age to 70 was under “active consideration” by the government. Mr Caputo added that increasing the pension age to 70 was concerning and not justified for Australians who might not have the opportunity to work to that age. The previous Labor government had raised the retirement age from 65 to 67 from 2023.“We believe that any other raising of the pension age is not justified and should not happen, on the grounds that you see a lot of people that we represent – from ethnic communities or newly arrived, that work in very tough industries, and a lot of them don’t even reach 60 years of age or their health has been affected. “If you come from a privileged background and you work in a highly paid professional job – these people will be able to work even until their late 70s, because they are often self-employed and are in good health, and they should have an option to make a choice. “On a personal level, I believe in freedom of choice – if some people who are in a pension age would like to continue to work and are able to find work, they should be able to do so. It should be a free choice, not being forced to do so.” In response to criticism that the Abbott government was preparing to break its pre-election promise that there would be no changes to pensions, on Tuesday Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the government would keep its pre-election commitments but also get the budget under control. If the changes are adopted Australians will become some of the oldest workers in the world.Fair Go For Pensioners Coalition also called on the Abbott government to come clean with pensioners, instead of cutting access to the age pension by increasing age pension eligibility age to 70 years.Theo Nomicos, committee member of Fair Go For Pensioners and president of the Association of Greek Elderly Citizens’ Clubs, told Neos Kosmos he is against the proposed changes and called for the Federal Government to give back to pensioners.“I believe that after 60-65 years of age nobody who works can give as much as they used to. Why don’t we retire and give positions to the young generations that are on the dole and haven’t got a job? They are more educated than the old people, they can produce and have the strength and the power for production.“When a person passes 60 and becomes a senior, they haven’t got the strength, especially for physical jobs – I may be able to produce 50 pieces per hour, but a young person can produce 70.“They are trying to cut a lot from fragile pensioners. But pensioners gave a lot to this country. I believe it’s time they allow us to live in dignity. We want the pension to be 35 per cent of the life time earnings as everywhere in the world, as here it’s not even 23 per cent,” Mr Nomicos said. FECCA’s chairman Joe Caputo referred to diverse issues that lifting the retirement age may have, bringing attention to cases of discrimination due to old age that are not rare in the workplace. “Often employers get rid of the old workers and employ the young ones. If you lose your job when you are in your 50s, it’s very difficult to find a job again. We had a case recently, in Queensland, where one worker was actually discriminated against because of his age. That’s another issue.“Now to actually lift the pension age – it just shifts one problem to another. If you keep the worker longer you’ll find it will be more difficult for young people to find jobs. So in fact we may end up with unemployed youth and overworked old people,” Mr Caputo told Neos Kosmos.