Raw meal deal

A PROPOSED plan allowing Tweed's new councillors to claim $150 a day each for meals has stunned struggling pensioners who last week swamped a giveaway of free bread.

Banora Point pensioner Terri Bradley yesterday expressed amazement at the amount councillors were set to allow themselves for meal expenses.

"How would you eat that much?" asked Ms Bradley, who last week helped organise the giveaway of free bread and other food to local battlers at the Jack Evans Boat Harbour.

The 83-year-old pensioner plans to hold another food giveaway on Wednesday -- one day before Tweed's councillors are due to consider an expenses policy which will allow them to claim up to $30 for breakfast, $40 for lunch and $80 for dinner each day when on official business.

Ms Bradley said the dinner allowance itself was more than her typical "fortnightly shop".

"That really is out of touch. It's disgusting," she added. "It's just out of complete proportion. There is no need for it. It is absolute waste."

Ms Bradley said she hoped councillors would reconsider their expenses in the light of the number of people on the Tweed battling to meet their modest budgets.

More than 25 per cent of ratepayers are believed to be on an aged pension and struggling to cope.

"That $80 alone would probably be more than my fortnight's shopping, unless you've got a big shop when you have got to get cleaners and things.

"It's just not on."

Cr Dot Holdom, who runs a cafe -- Dot's by the Sea at Kingscliff -- where $40 could almost get two big lunches, said she was willing to consider "trimming the fat".

"It is pushing the upper limit," she added.

Cr Warren Polglase admitted the allowances "look generous".

"I know in the area we live a lot of people would say they've got to live on that for a week," Cr Polglase said.

"But if you have to go to Sydney at some of the hotels in the CBD the average breakfast is in excess of $28."



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