During a visit to Tasmania today, my colleague, Shadow Minister for Regional Development Julie Collins, and I met with pensioners to discuss the federal budget. We got a warm reception but not surprisingly, they gave the budget the thumbs down. Julie and I subsequently issued this joint media release:
ANDREW LEIGH MP - SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASUER
JULIE COLLINS MP - SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
ABBOTT GOVERNMENT’S BUDGET FAILS PENSIONERS
The Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh, has confirmed the Abbott Government’s Budget is no friend to Tasmania’s pensioners.
Speaking with members of the Tasmanian Pensioner Association in Hobart today Dr Leigh said the Abbott Government’s Budget would affect Tasmanians who could least afford any loss of financial support.
“This Budget not only breaks promises, it breaks the social contract with older Australians,” Dr Leigh said.
"By indexing pensions to the Consumer Price Index rather than wages, the Abbott Government is saying that pensioners should not share in any of the growth in living standards in Australia. It has been widely recognised by Labor, policy experts, pensioners and their representatives that the Consumer Price Index does not properly reflect the rising costs of living that pensioners face.”
“This Government thinks pensioners are ‘leaners’. Labor knows that pensioners have done more than their share of heavy lifting.”
“Pensioners deserve better than the reverse Robin Hood measures in this Budget.”
“The stories I am hearing from pensioners is that they are struggling to make ends meet and that’s without the Abbott Government’s cuts kicking in. Pensioners need our support – they don’t deserve to be treated like second-class citizens.”
The Federal Member for Franklin, Julie Collins, said Prime Minister Abbott’s Budget priorities were wrong.
“Pensioners have every right to ask Prime Minister Tony Abbott why he is willing to cut financial support while paying millionaire mums $50,000 to have a baby,” Ms Collins said.
“Every dollar lost will have a significant impact on more than 98,000 Tasmanian pensioners who are already struggling to make ends meet.
“At the last election, Tony Abbott made a solemn promise to older Australians that there would be no changes to pensions. This is not the Government he said they’d be. No wonder Tasmanian pensioners feel betrayed.”
Ms Collins said there was also growing uncertainty whether the concessions of Tasmanian pensioners would be maintained in the State Budget that will be handed down in August.
THURSDAY, 3 JULY 2014