Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP has called on the Liberals to stop attacking Bendigo and Central Victorian Pensioners and stop trying to cut their pensions.
“One of the hidden nasty surprises in last week’s budget was that the Liberal Government has taken the knife to pensioners’ income once again, this time by abolishing the Energy Supplement for new recipients,” said Ms Chesters.
This means that pensioners will be hundreds of dollars a year worse off:
• Single pensioners will be $366 a year worse off;
• Couple pensioners will be $550 a year worse off.
"I know from talking to Bendigo and Central Victorian pensioners that their energy bills are increasing and they need all the help they can get. Maybe $366 is not a lot of money to the Prime Minster but it’s a lot for a pensioner.
"Ensuring that pensioners have the means to support themselves is core Labor business and we have the history to prove it.
"Labor was the first Federal Government to expand and increase the age pension. Importantly, Labor in Government improved the indexation system - it ensures that when pensioners’ cost of living goes up, the pension goes up to match it. Labor also introduced extra supplements, like the energy supplement, to help pensioners pay their bills.
"In contrast, in every budget since getting elected, the Liberal Government has tried to cut pensions in some way.
"Cuts to indexation, supplements, reducing eligibility and cutting part-pensions are just of few of the nasty cuts the Liberals have tried to push through the Federal parliament.
"The Liberals have, and will continue to try, to cut the age pension. Yet, another example of how the Liberals are only interested in the Top End of town and not Bendigo and Central Victoria.
"Labor is committed to ensuring the sustainability of the retirement income system in a way that delivers fairness and enables Australians to maintain a comfortable standard of living in retirement.
"I understand that Bendigo and Central Victorian pensioners have limited room to move in their budgets. I will continue to be a strong voice for our pensioners in Parliament and in the community,” said Ms Chesters.