O’Farrell warned against taking money from pensioners

The Member for Blaxland, Jason Clare, and the Member for Banks, Daryl Melham, have urged NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell not to raise rents for 7,227 local pensioners living in public housing when the Gillard Government increases their pension in May and June this year.

“The Labor Government’s upcoming pension boost is to help pensioners with the cost of living,” said Mr Clare.

“I’m worried Barry O’Farrell will use the increase in the pension as another opportunity to increase rents for local pensioners again.”

“In 2009 Labor delivered the biggest increase to the pension in 100 years and we secured agreement from the State Government to not hike rents as a result,” Mr Melham said.

“However, Barry O’Farrell has since walked away from that agreement and has bumped up rent for public housing tenants, taking away some of Labor’s pension increase.

“Now we are delivering another big increase for pensioners and we can’t let Barry O’Farrell do the same thing all over again.”

Over May and June, more than 51,900 pensioners in Banks and Blaxland will receive a tax-free, lump-sum payment of up to $250, before receiving an increase to their fortnightly pension in March next year.

The total increase amounts to $338 a year for single pensioners and $510 a year for pensioner couples combined. The payments will be identified as a separate pension supplement, making it simple for the New South Wales Government to exclude it from their rent calculations.

Mr Melham said: “This money is for our local pensioners. It’s not for Mr O’Farrell.”

Media contact: Chris Zogopoulos (Minister Clare’s office) 9790 2466; Deborah May (Mr Melham’s office) 9774 2111