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Liberals turn their back on pensioners

April 26, 2013

Chris Hayes MP, Federal Member for Fowler, strongly criticised the NSW Liberal Government for using Labor’s Clean Energy Supplement payment to raise public housing rents.

"The NSW Liberals have decided to gouge back the Commonwealth supplement designed to help those who are struggling the most pay for basic living necessities.

"At the same time, their Federal counterparts have promised to scrap the Clean Energy Supplement altogether", Mr Hayes said.

The Clean energy supplement was paid to all income support recipients. For pensioners, this means $350 extra a year for singles and $530 extra a year for pensioner couples.

"The Federal Government understands that pensioners are already doing it tough with their household budgets".

"That’s why we’ve delivered the single biggest boost to the pension ever and introduced the new Clean Energy Supplement so pensioners and other income support recipients have more money in their pockets to pay the bills," said Chris Hayes.

"Since Labor’s historic pension reforms in 2009, the maximum rate of the pension has increased by $207 a fortnight for singles and $236 a fortnight for couples combined".

"The NSW Liberal Government, on the other hand, is using these increases as a reason to hit our pensioners living in public housing with higher rents".

Mr Hayes said 3 500 pensioners in Fowler alone will have to pay $88 a year more in rent which comes on top of the $618 yearly rent increase pensioners and veterans in social housing have already been hit with since Mr O’Farrell came to office.

"The Commonwealth supplement is designed to help some of the most vulnerable citizens in the community pay for essentials such as food, water and electricity, especially with winter around the corner", Mr Hayes said.

Chris Hayes visited Mr Warren O’Donnell, a Cartwright Disability Support Pension recipient who is outraged with the NSW Government raising rents for people who are already struggling.

"I have been speaking to a lot of my neighbours and they are all very concerned about the rents going up. We are struggling as it is and any assistance from the Government is more than welcome.

"To receive this assistance from the Commonwealth and then get a letter from the State Government saying 25per cent of it will be taken straight away feels very wrong and unfair", Mr O’Donnell said.

"This situation demonstrates a very clear difference in the way Liberals and Labor deal with the most vulnerable members of our community", Mr Hayes added.