O’Farrell warned against pensioner cash grab

Member for Watson, Tony Burke, has called on Liberal Premier Barry O’Farrell not to raise rents for 2,217 local pensioners living in public housing when the Gillard Government increases their pension in May and June this year. 

“I’m worried Barry O’Farrell will use the Labor Government’s upcoming pension boost as another excuse to increase rents for local pensioners again,” Tony Burke said.

“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.

“However, Barry O’Farrell has since walked away from that agreement and has bumped up rents 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 26,400 pensioners in Watson 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.

“My local pensioners are afraid that after the Federal Government works hard to boost their pension, Mr O’Farrell and will just take some it straight off them.

“This money is for my local pensioners. It’s not for Mr O’Farrell.”