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May calls on Elliot to stand up for pensioners.



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Margaret May MP

Shadow Minister for Ageing

MEDIA RELEASE

15 May 2008 MM/5/015

May calls on Elliot to Stand up for Pensioners

Margaret May, Shadow Minister for Ageing has called on the Minister for Ageing (the Hon Justine Elliot MP) to stand up for older Australians, the disabled and carers.

Margaret said: “The Minister’s performance since holding her portfolio has been disgraceful.

“She has not lifted a finger to help older Australians.

“When the carers’ and pensioners’ bonus was debated in March, her silence was deafening.

“When pensioners were overlooked in Tuesday’s Budget, her silence was again deafening.

“At a time when pensioners and carers need someone to stand up for them, they’ve been let down with not a peep of support coming from the Minister.

“Pensioners and carers were always a priority of the former Government.

“The former Government recognised that many pensioners lived on a fixed income and were struggling to meet rising grocery, petrol and other expenses.

“But this Rudd Government does not care for struggling pensioners.

“Rather than bring down the cost of food and petrol, the Budget is inflationary.

“The proposed changes to the Medicare surcharge levy will impact on pensioners heavily, with thousands exiting the industry resulting in higher premiums.

“Many pensioners do not have any discretionary income at all and the pension is falling short of meeting their basic needs, having to cut back on the necessities of life thereby risking their health and well-being.

“Many do not have the means of even enjoying a modest standard of living.

“Older Australians on average spend more on food than any other household group, with around 20% of their total weekly expenditure spent on food.

“With rising food costs, older Australians are finding it difficult to maintain a healthy diet and without a healthy diet, their health will deteriorate and the costs of health care will blow out.

“With cost of living pressures increasing, it is essential that the Government provides appropriate financial safety nets to ensure that they remain above the poverty line.

The Government must act immediately to assist older Australians and I call on the Minister to get out and fight for older Australians”, Mrs May said.

ENDS

Media Contact: Krystyna Homik 0408 739 273