Reduced rebate hurts

Maylands MLA Lisa Baker (right) with local residents (from left) Margaret Thompson, Lyn De Ruyter and Glenda Reynolds. Picture: Marcus Whisson d425242
Maylands MLA Lisa Baker (right) with local residents (from left) Margaret Thompson, Lyn De Ruyter and Glenda Reynolds. Picture: Marcus Whisson d425242

Ms Thompson said reductions in government benefits were forcing her to reassess how to pay for expenses, including her car registration.

Earlier this year, the State Government announced it would pass on the Federal Government cuts to seniors’ concessions by halving the lump sum cost of living rebate (COLR).

Seniors Minister Tony Simpson said the reduction was from $245 to $123 for couples and $163 to $82 for singles.

Ms Thompson said it made living hard, especially for seniors like her who were renting.

‘We don’t want to sit in our houses and vegetate; cuts are making it very difficult. As you get older you don’t need those sorts of worries,’ she said.

‘Years ago people could live quite comfortably on the pension. I know the circumstances were different, but now people on the pension who don’t have super like me can’t.’

Maylands MLA Lisa Baker said more than 90 per cent of 200 seniors surveyed in her electorate registered concern, along with many families who helped support elderly parents.

‘Seniors on lower incomes are the most vulnerable to government cuts, with already strained household budgets now expected to cover rising costs of living,’ she said.

Ms Baker said the decision to cut concessions would force more seniors to work longer or find another form of financial support.

Premier Colin Barnett said the Federal Government had reduced funding to WA seniors’ concessions by $107 million over the next four years under the national partnership agreement.

‘Reducing the COLR, which no other state provides for seniors, is the fairest option for dealing with that shortfall,’ he said.