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Thursday, 17 November 1960


Mr REYNOLDS - Another group of people who are being badly hit by the Government includes not only pensioners who are being denied assistance in meeting their municipal rates and water rates commitments, but also the highly rated citizens of various municipalities who have been called upon to pay compensation, in effect, for the inadequate pension paid by this Government to pensioners. In the municipalities of Hurstville, Rockdale and Kogarah, in my electorate, we have many cases of resident pensioners who have been rated out of the area - rated out of the very community they have helped to establish over the years, the very community that they have made into an attractive place to live in. These people who pioneered the district have been rated out of it. It is not that I expect that they would be given very substantial rebates in rates. The Government should be paying more attention to the needs of ordinary pensioners. It should help them to pay their way in the community and meet the demands for municipal rates, water and other charges. But the municipal authorities are being compelled to supplement the inadequate social service payments of this Government. The supplementary allowance should be extended to single pensioners who are living in their own homes and to the pensioners, both married and single, who are paying off their own homes. Many single pensioners are paying a substantial amount off their houses and they are excluded from the supplementary allowance whereas it is granted to those who are paying rent.

I would not deny the supplementary allowance to those who are paying rent, but I believe there are other sections of the pensioners who need this extra assistance. Municipal authorities should not have to bear social service responsibilities. They have plenty of other things to do in the community. I believe the Commonwealth Government should consider seriously the proposal by local government bodies that they should have a share of the tax revenue raised by the Commonwealth to help them meet their municipal responsibilities. When the rate-paying community has to subsidize inadequate Commonwealth pensions, it is bearing an undue burden. If municipal governments have to give some relief to pensioners by concessions on their rates, the burden should not be placed entirely on ratepayers who own their homes, but should be shared by all persons who earn incomes. In many families with children, the husband is the only wage-earner and such people should not have to compensate pensioners for the Government's deficiencies. The Government should make a direct contribution to local government bodies.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member's time has expired.

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