BACKLASH: Lismore pensioner Peter Harbord finds it hard to get excited about pension increases, believing they won’t cover the rising cost of living and the loss of other benefits.
BACKLASH: Lismore pensioner Peter Harbord finds it hard to get excited about pension increases, believing they won’t cover the rising cost of living and the loss of other benefits. Cathy Adams

Pensioners claim bias with new handout

THE Federal Government has been talking up the increase to its aged pension, which comes into effect on Sunday, but the folk at Lismore Senior Citizens Club are less than impressed.

Yesterday the group was discussing the increase over a game of indoor bowls.

Fran Datt, of Lismore, said the Government was adept at giving with one hand while taking away with the other.

Mrs Datt was yesterday due to receive her regular pension, plus her quarterly utilities payment of $125. The utilities payment did not land in her bank account, putting a stop to her plans to buy some new tyres for her car.

“The Government has taken a lot of the money before it even gets to us,” she said.

“I have paid big taxes all my life and they are still crippling us.”

Single pensioner Peter Harbord admitted he had become 'one of those cynical, grumpy old men' about the pension payments.

As part of the Government's pension restructure, the quarterly payment has been scrapped and a new weekly payment of $2.14 has been introduced to subsidise the cost of utilities such as electricity.

Mr Harbord said he was therefore receiving an annual increase of $1189, not the $1689 touted by the Government.

“I tried to work out the increase last night,” he said.

“It's a nice bonus but unfortunately all the bright boys around town have put their hand out for the money before we even get it.

“I just broke the $200 record for my electricity bill, and I live on my own in a one-bedroom housing commission place.

“All the basics have gone up.”

Pensioners who received their fortnightly payments yesterday will have to wait until October 1 to get their first higher rate pension payment.

The Federal Government announced its Secure and Sustainable Pension Reforms in May for all 3.3 million of Australia's age pensioners, disability pensioners, carers, wife pensioners, and veteran income support recipients.

The Government said the reforms would improve the adequacy of the pension system, make its operation simpler and secure its future sustainability.

The reforms will deliver $32.49 per week for single pensioners on the full rate and $10.14 per week combined for couples on the full rate.

The increases will cost $14.2 billion over the next four years.

Are pensions adequate? Leave a comment below or phone 6624 3266 or SMS 0428 264 948.


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