Provest denies pension grabbing

Geoff Provest says claims the State Government has eaten up federal pension increases with increased rental charges for those in public housing is wrong.
Geoff Provest says claims the State Government has eaten up federal pension increases with increased rental charges for those in public housing is wrong. John Gass TWE010811provest

RICHMOND MP Justine Elliot has accused Tweed MP Geoff Provest and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell of taking part of the Federal Government's recent pension increase from local pensioners living in public housing.

Mrs Elliot claimed Tweed pensioners would be "furious" that from March next year the state Liberals will use Labor's pension boost to increase public housing rents.

"This is taking money straight out of the pockets of public housing tenants," Mrs Elliot said.

"This is a cruel and cynical cash grab from a typical Liberal premier who cares more about his own hip pocket than looking out for local pensioners.

"This decision will really hurt them.

"The Federal Labor Government is delivering a boost for pensioners to help them make ends meet, but Barry O'Farrell just wants take a slice of it for himself.

"It's greedy, it's grubby and it's wrong."

Mr Provest, a Nationals MP, has rejected the claims.

"Residents of public housing pay around 25% of their income on their rent and that is not going to change," Mr Provest said.

"In fact, because we know residents are going to do it tough under the Gillard/Elliot carbon tax, the lump sum carbon tax compensation payments have not been counted as income for rent purposes.

"None of this would be an issue if the Labor Party had kept its word and not brought in a carbon tax in the first place.

"Ms Elliot should be apologising to Tweed small businesses which get zero compensation for Labor's toxic tax and will soon be shedding jobs."

All pensioners living in Richmond have received a lump sum payment from the Federal Government over the past few weeks of $250 for singles and $380 for couples, according to Mrs Elliot.

"Pensioners will also get a permanent boost to their regular payments in March next year," she said.

"In total, single pensioners are receiving an extra $338 a year and couples are receiving an extra $510 a year combined.

"Barry O'Farrell's decision means a maximum rate single pensioner will now pay an extra $84.50 a year in rent."

Mrs Elliot said the Federal Labor Government was delivering the increase as a separate pension supplement so it wouldn't be included when the State Government calculated public housing rents, which has been the accepted practice for many years.

"In 2009 we delivered the biggest ever increase to the pension," she said.

"But as soon as Barry O'Farrell became Premier he took a cut for himself and pensioners had less money for living expenses.

"They (pensioners) are sick and tired of seeing Geoff Provest's hand in their pocket every time Federal Labor gives them extra money.

"This extra money is for local pensioners.

"It's not for Geoff Provest."

Topics:  geoff provest justine elliot

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