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Seniors welcome Queensland Government about-face on pensions

Date

Tony Moore

Seniors have wlecomed the government reversal.

Seniors have wlecomed the government reversal. Photo: Jessica Shapiro

Queensland seniors' groups have welcomed the Newman Government's U-turn on pensioner concessions days after handing down its budget.

The state Government had decided to reduce the discount on electricity bills, rates bills and water bills for seniors in its Tuesday budget.

The decision became the budget hot point, with a string of seniors groups questioning the decision only a week after it was announced electricity prices would rise by almost $200, on average, for the next 12 months.

Premier Campbell Newman listens as Treasurer Tim Nicholls outlines the 2014-15 state budget at Parliament house on Tuesday.

Premier Campbell Newman listens as Treasurer Tim Nicholls outlines the 2014-15 state budget at Parliament house on Tuesday. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Premier Campbell Newman stood in state parliament on Thursday morning and announced the state government would fund the $54 million that the federal government had axed from concession payments for the next 12 months.

“Pensioners and older Queenslanders have told us that they simply can’t wear the cost of filling the gap between Queensland’s increased contribution, and the Commonwealth Government’s concessions cuts and increased fees and taxes,” Mr Newman said.

“That’s why today I’m announcing that we’ve not only listened to Queenslanders, but we’ve acted, within the space of two days, to reinstate the full level of pensioner and senior concessions."

Mark Tucker-Evans, the chief executive of Council on the Ageing in Queensland, welcomed Thursday's decision.

"Obviously we are very pleased with the response," he said.

"We were very concerned that it seemed that they were going to place people who are very vulnerable in an even worse situation.

"So their decision to continue with the concessions is very much appreciated."

Mr Tucker-Evans said he was in the process of writing to the Treasurer and the Premier on behalf of COTA Qld to thank them for their decision.

Ray Ferguson, state president of the Australian Pensioners and Superannuants League, said the speed of the turnaround was very welcome.

The group had intended to organise a rally in Brisbane under the "Fair Go for Pensioners Coalition" banner.

"The APSL Queensland welcomes the decision of the Newman Government to re-establish the cuts they intended to introduce to concessions as a result of federal government cutbacks," Mr Ferguson said. 

"I am also very pleased that they recognised that the cuts to concessions would have amounted to a double whammy impact to seniors after the federal budget."

However, Mr Ferguson said the APSL would monitor any state contribution to programs now helping seniors and pension groups in Queensland.

He said he was worried by a section of the statement which said the Queensland government would look to "withhold and recoup funding" from some joint Commonwealth-State programs.

"The APSL is concerned that if any of those programs involve pensioners or seniors, the APSL will be totally in opposition to this,'' he said.

23 comments so far

  • It shouldn't have happened in the first place.

    Commenter
    Travesty
    Date and time
    June 05, 2014, 12:45PM
    • It shouldn't have happened in the first place. More thought and compassion is needed when dealing with peoples' lives.

      Commenter
      Mark
      Date and time
      June 05, 2014, 12:47PM
      • If the LNP are re-elected in Queensland, will the government still honour its turnaround on pensioner concession cuts? I believe they would reinstate them. Newman's word cannot be trusted.

        Commenter
        Marion says
        Date and time
        June 05, 2014, 12:54PM
        • Nor can Abbott's.

          Commenter
          Eddie
          Date and time
          June 05, 2014, 1:20PM
        • They will cover it for the first year 50 million dollars , but then we have the Election in March ? and another Budget in June ? Scary ......

          Commenter
          Bill Grieve
          Location
          Ashgrove
          Date and time
          June 05, 2014, 3:58PM
        • Marion, Exactly, there should be no sighs of relief until the lying grubs are run out of office.

          Commenter
          davros
          Date and time
          June 05, 2014, 4:10PM
        • Marion, hedge your bets and don't vote for them. Even if it's in writing, I wouldn't trust them an inch.

          Commenter
          Currawong20
          Location
          East Gippsland
          Date and time
          June 05, 2014, 4:23PM
      • If there wasnt a by election coming coming up and they dont want another hiding this back flip wouldnt have happened.

        Commenter
        barney
        Date and time
        June 05, 2014, 4:01PM
        • Writing to thank them for a decision which should never have happened in the first place, especially given the astronomical pay increase these leeches received this year.

          Commenter
          Shane in QLD
          Date and time
          June 05, 2014, 4:01PM
          • Yes, it should not have happened in the first place. How the Labor leader is patting herself on the back and taking credit for this u-turn is sickening. The u-turn was because seniors stood up not because of what you did. You politicians continue to live in lala land.

            Commenter
            Loda Bollox
            Location
            Brisbane
            Date and time
            June 05, 2014, 4:04PM

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