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Brisbane City Council 'penny-pinching' pensioners' dollars

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Γ Minister for Social Security

Senator Graham Richardson


The Brisbane City Council is guilty of a cynical piece of pensioner penny pinching, the Minister for Social Security, Senator Richardson said today.

Senator Richardson said it was outrageous that the Lord Mayor, Sallyanne Atkinson, was trying to blame the Commonwealth for the potential loss of rate concessions as a result of the introduction of new deeming rules for pensioners.

"The only reason some pensioner rate concessions are at risk in Brisbane is the meanness of Sallyanne Atkinson. This is not the Commonwealth pinching pensioner dollars - it is the Brisbane City Council," Senator Richardson said.

"The silly thing is that this will not cost the Brisbane City Council one extra penny. Pensioners are already getting these concessions. The Brisbane City Council is trying to save a dollar by ripping it off pensioners".

Senator Richardson said that the Commonwealth Government had already guaranteed that no pensioner would lose Commonwealth / fringe benefits as a result of the introduction of the deeming rules on March 1.

This means that all existing pensioners will-maintain their eligibility for a Pensioner Health Benefit (PHB) card.

"In other Australian States, pensioners who hold a PHB card can get a range of additional State and local Government concessions and benefits.

"In Brisbane, pensioners are disadvantaged because the Brisbane City Council only gives rate concessions to full-rate pensioners. ' l .

"This means we have the ridiculous situation where the Brisbane City Council will deny pensioners a 40% rate concession - even if they are only one dollar away from receiving the maximum rate pension. For the sake of doing the right thing and maximising their income - perhaps earning as little as a few

extra dollars - pensioners stand to lose hundreds of dollars of rate concession". ’ . -

Senator Richardson said he had written to the Lord Mayor twice, asking her to reconsider the BCC’s rate concession rules.

"I intend to meet the Lord Mayor soon. I am hopeful that the matter can be resolved. Other states are co-operating with the Commonwealth. Why should Brisbane or Queensland pensioners be the only ones disadvantaged? Pensioners are clearly waiting

for an answer from Sallyanne Atkinson".


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CONTACT: Gregg Borschmann 06 - 2777560. 2 0 FEB 1991

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