A Today show reporter has ventured into one of Australia’s wealthiest suburbs to mock wealthy locals to their faces over whether they can still afford their luxury cars, boats and overseas holidays amid proposed changes in retirement.
Thousands of Aussies with more than $3 million in super will no longer receive generous tax breaks under a new plan announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister and Treasurer Jim Chalmers confirmed their plans to double the tax rate to 30 per cent for Australians with more than $3 million in their super, with the changes expected to take effect on 1 July 2025.
Many of the 80,000 Aussies expected to be affected are likely to come from areas such as Double Bay, an upmarket suburb in eastern Sydney.
The pension changes were still a hot topic on breakfast television Wednesday, where Today reporter Lara Vella covered live from the “beautifully manicured streets” of Double Bay.
She repeatedly dragged residents throughout the segment, some of them to their faces, and was cheered on by program hosts Karl Stefanovic and Sarah Abo.
Today show reporter Lara Vella (pictured) took to the streets of Double Bay on Wednesday
“It’s tough out here on the streets of Double Bay this morning,” Vella began.
“The community, they’re counting their pennies, they’re counting the stacks of $100 bills that they’ve strategically placed in their penthouses and mansions in case it comes down to a rainy day, because this is class warfare, really.
“And let’s face it, no one likes it when the rich are targeted, right?”
Vella took to the streets to find out how the locals of Double Bay felt.
“People are very discouraged. They’re going to order less coffee now and aren’t sure how to get through the day,” said a coffee shop barista.
Vella joked, “How are they going to pay for their almond lattes?”
The barista replied, “They’ll have to sell some of their properties.”
A man from Double Bay joked to Lara Vella that he could be forced to sell his daughter’s favorite boat
Today’s presenters Karl Stefanovic and Sarah Abo also poked fun at residents of the posh suburb
Vella even rudely rejected a local when she told her she was middle-income.
“No, I don’t want to talk to you,” she said, turning away from the woman who seemed shaken by the interaction.
A middle-aged man was asked if he should sell his second Mercedes.
‘It’s the boat, it’s mine daughter’s favorite,” he joked.
Double Bay’s median annual income is $176,577, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics personal income data for 2019-20.
According to the 2016 Census, homeowners pay an average of $3,000 per month in mortgage payments.
“There will be so many spirited conversations this morning around solid marble dining room tables, won’t there?” continued Vella.
“Should they sell the second or third Mercedes, maybe even downgrade to an Audi or a VW.”
“You know, winters in Whistler don’t pay for themselves. It is heavy.’
Lara Vella (pictured) wondered how the residents of Double Bay can still afford their luxury cars, boats and foreign vacations under the sweeping reforms
Stefanovic and Abo were cracking up in the studio when Vella ended the segment by mocking a passerby “on their way to yoga.”
“It’s not easy,” Stefanovic joked.
Vella was inundated with praise for her relentless part of the retirement saga from viewers tired of politicians’ narrative.
“Well done, thanks for injecting a touch of reality into this over the top fiasco,” one viewer tweeted.
Another added: ‘Well done for seeing this problem for what it is. A basic measure to prevent the richest Australians from getting an undeserved tax break.’
It did more to put the pension issue into perspective than any other coverage I’ve seen. If I see another interview with a liberal politician who propagates lies.’
But not all viewers saw the funny side.
“How dare you make fun of people who live in Double Bay. They also pay huge taxes for things like Medicare/Welfare,” one wrote.
What you need to know about Australia’s supersystem changes
* The Albanian government argues that the rising costs of defence, health care, elderly care and the NDIS, and the repayment of huge debts, require a new pension policy.
* Many Australians voluntarily contribute up to $27,500 each year to their super. If they earn less than $250,000, they are taxed at a generous 15 percent
*As of July 1, 2025, the tax rate applied to future earnings for super balances over $3 million will be 30 percent
* This will apply to approximately 80,000 people, who will continue to benefit from the 15 percent tax rate on income from the $3 million below the threshold.
* It does not impose a limit on the amount of the pension account balances in the accrual phase and it applies to future earnings.
* The government will soon discuss the legislation to make this possible.
* Expected to generate revenue of approximately $2 billion in its first full year.
* Treasury figures show that lost income from retirement tax benefits is about $50 billion a year.
* The costs of these concessions are expected to exceed the costs of the retirement pension in 2050.
With Australian Associated Press