Friday, 20 March 2015
The State Labor Government and the Local Government Association (LGA) have been playing a blame-game over the cancellation of pensioner concessions on local government rates that involves all three tiers of government.
A Local Mayor has entered the debate in an attempt to defend the LGA’s campaign against the pensioner concession cuts.
The Federal Government has explained their contribution to the pensioner concessions budget was only 10% with the remaining 90% funded by the State Government. While it is true that 10% will no longer be funded federally, every other State Government, except for South Australia, has agreed to fund the full concession.
What is indisputable are the statements in South Australia’s Budget Papers under the heading “Commonwealth Government budget cuts” where the State Government, including both Premier Weatherill and Treasurer Koutsantonis decided that they would “no longer provide concessions on local government rates from 1 July 2015 saving $98 million over the forward estimates”. That is in black and white. The Federal cut to concessions over the forward estimates amounted to $123 m. The State Government found $98 million over the forward estimates in savings by cutting the concessions on local government rates.
The State Labor Government decided to cut pensioner concessions from local government rates in the same budget that it removed the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) general remissions on fixed and mobile property which has seen a massive hike in the ESL.
The good news for pensioners is that the State Liberal Party will move to block any regulation aimed at removing pensioner concession payments on local government rates. With the support of just 3 cross-benchers in the Upper House, this would mean that the Labor Government’s attempt to change these regulations to implement their planned cut to the local government pensioner concession would be successfully disallowed and thus the payment would stay in place.
Premier Weatherill’s $1.1 million advertising campaign claiming the Federal Government was responsible for his own Government’s plan to cut pensioner concessions is a waste of taxpayers money. This money would be better spent on job creation, health services and supporting pensioners.
South Australians would be rightly disgusted at the way that Labor has been playing politics with pensioners solely for political point-scoring purposes.