Doug Sutherland
Doug Sutherland

Labor MPs fail to attend meeting

NORTHERN Rivers retirees can’t understand why Ageing Minister and Richmond MP Justine Elliot won’t meet with their association, despite several invitations over the past year.

All local candidates for Richmond and Page have agreed to attend a meeting of the Association of Independent Retirees at the Ballina RSL Club this Friday – except Labor members Ms Elliot and Page MP Janelle Saffin.

With the standard of living dropping dramatically for self-funded retirees over the past five years, Doug Sutherland from the Far North Coast branch of the Association of Independent Retirees says his group was very keen to talk to their local members before heading to the polls.

While it is the first invitation extended to Ms Saffin, they remain ‘extremely disappointed’ with Ms Elliot’s ongoing snub.

Self-funded retirees say they are struggling with reduced capital bases following the global financial crisis and the association lists reduced access to part-pension support, inequitable thresholds, and increasingly stringent entry criteria to residential aged-care facilities as some of their urgent worries.

“We’ve lived our lives and saved with the aim of not being a burden on the government or the people,” Mr Sutherland said, believing it was the local members’ responsibility to explain the Government’s position on these issues.

A spokeswoman for Ms Elliot said the Minister had already met association representatives elsewhere in Australia, but was unable to attend the Ballina meeting due to prior commitments.

Ms Saffin said she would have gladly gone, but it clashed with a long-standing engagement and her office manager would attend. She added she would be happy to schedule a meeting.

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