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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 220


Mr PASIN (Barker) (16:41): In recent weeks my office has been inundated with hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls expressing outrage at the political campaign being run by the South Australian state government and the Local Government Association of South Australia on pensioner concessions. This is a campaign deliberately directed at spreading falsehoods and misdirecting responsibility away from those truly responsible for the removal of pensioner concessions: the state Labor government.

The federal government, of course, has traditionally contributed 10 per cent of the costs of these pensioner concessions under the National Partnership agreement. While it is true that 10 per cent will no longer be funded federally, every state and territory government across this nation except, of course, my beloved South Australia has agreed to fund this concession in full. The state Labor government is responsible for 90 per cent of the funding for pensioner concessions. Put another way, they are responsible for $171 out of $190 of the concession. But, instead of dealing with this, they are punishing pensioners, pocketing $98 million and sheeting home blame to someone else.

As a former member of local government, I have been a strong defender of local government. For as long as I can remember, the LGASA has been assiduously apolitical and even-handed, but this is no longer the case. The South Australian Labor government is the highest taxing state government in Australia yet continues to run ballooning deficits. In contrast, the federal Liberal government is increasing federal funding to South Australia by 23 per cent, or $1.8 billion over the forward estimates. (Time expired)