Lisa Chesters MP, Federal Member for Bendigo, says around 2580 local pensioners face significant cuts to their pension from New Year’s Day because of cuts made by the Liberal Government and the Greens.
Around 1860 Central Victorian pensioners will see an average cut to their pension of $124 a fortnight.
A further 720 local pensioners will lose their pension entirely, leaving them on average worse off by $187 a fortnight.
Ms Chesters said Malcolm Turnbull is the Grinch who Stole Christmas for local pensioners.
“Pensioners and families already face huge financial pressures this holiday season and the last thing they need is a cut to their pension.
“Labor voted against this cut to pensions in the Parliament and we will continue to fight for a fair go for pensioners.
“These cuts were made to save the budget $2.4 billion but forcing a group of pensioners into poverty is not the solution. What we need is a conversation about what a reasonable retirement income looks like,” said Ms Chesters.
Local pensioners have been contacting Ms Chesters to share what these cuts will mean for them.
Spring Gully resident Douglas at first thought Centrelink had made a mistake when he received his letter from Centrelink advising him he would not be getting any pension from 1 January 2017.
“I’ll have to try and find work – how else will I be able to pay the bills?” Douglas said.
Allison in Castlemaine is also going to be without her $200 a week pension from 1 January.
“I drive to a rural school to volunteer. With less income I may not be able to afford the petrol. I also liked to chip in and get those extra items the school may not be able to provide on their budget. I won’t be able to do that anymore,” said Allison.
Another constituent explained that she has tried to plan for her retirement but it is really difficult when the Government keep changing the rules.
“The cost of everything keeps going up and I am really worried about what rules are going to change next. There’s just no certainty,” she said.
“Cutting the pension shows how out of touch Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals really are. They are taking money off pensioners at Christmas while trying to give a $50 billion handout to big business and the banks,” Ms Chesters said.
Pensioners who are concerned about how the Government’s changes to the pension assets test will affect them are urged to contact Centrelink Financial Information Services on 132 300.