Retired teacher Neville Buchanan of Raceview is unhappy with the small increase to pension rates.
Retired teacher Neville Buchanan of Raceview is unhappy with the small increase to pension rates. David Nielsen

Meagre rise leaves the aged cold

IPSWICH pensioners have been handed a maximum fortnightly pension increase of $6.70 per person as part of the Federal Government's bi-annual pension indexation process.

More than 23,000 local pensioners will receive an increase in their pension when they receive their payments on April 5.

People receiving age, disability and carer pensions, as well as veterans' income support recipients, will receive the fortnightly boost as a result of indexation, but the increase has been greeted with scepticism by some local pensioners

"It's a pittance really, a bit of an insult," said retired teacher Neville Buchanan.

"I realise the country is suffering at the moment, but they are going to be raking in millions from the mining and carbon taxes and they're not bothering with the senior citizens who have paid taxes their whole lives."

Following the latest increase, total pension payments for people on the maximum rate, including the base rate and pension supplement, are: $755.50 a fortnight for singles, and $1139.00 a fortnight for couples combined.

Mr Buchanan, who receives a part pension to supplement his modest superannuation income, said it showed how out of touch those who set the rates were.

"Pensioners are struggling at the moment and they're not getting any support," he said.

"The demands on our finances are increasing exponentially and our income is barely moving."

Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann defended the increase indicating it, along with other reforms, would help pensioners make ends meet.

"We know they deserve a fair go," Mr Neumann said.

"That's why we are providing the tax cuts to family tax benefit A, the pension increases and the tax cuts to small business.

"All of those things will help many, many, many pensioners."

Mr Neumann said the current government had done more for pensioners than any Federal Government since Federation.

"Labor understands that pensioners have the least room to move in their budgets. That's why it's so important that when the cost of living goes up, the pension goes up to match it," he said.

Mr Buchanan was less enthusiastic about the value of the "loaf of bread" increase.

"We like to go out once a week, but other than that we are putting on a stew or soup that will last us a few nights," he said. "These are the sort of things you've got to do to eke out your income."

From May, the Federal Government is also increasing payments to pensioners as part of the clean energy future package.

Singles will receive an increase of about $338 a year, and couples will get an increase of about $510 a year combined.



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