Pen­sioner re­bate rises

DEPUTY MAYOR BACKS LA­BOR COUN­CIL­LORS OVER $95 IN­CREASE

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Nick Houghton

BLACK­TOWN’S Deputy Mayor Russ Dick­ens will be a pop­u­lar man among pen­sion­ers af­ter cast­ing the de­cid­ing vote to ap­prove an in­crease to the pen­sioner re­bate.

The $95 rise means se­niors will now re­ceive a $200 dis­count on their coun­cil rates each quar­ter.

The re­bate was a con­tro­ver­sial topic at last week’s coun­cil meet­ing, with Lib­eral and La­bor coun­cil­lors go­ing head-to-head in more than two hours of de­bate.

With votes locked at 7-all, Cr Dick­ens – an in­de­pen­dent – sided with La­bor to pass the coun­cil rec­om­men­da­tion.

“Pen­sion­ers in Black­town are do­ing it tough,” he said.

“I sup­port the in­crease as hope­fully it can help se­niors with the cost of liv­ing, a ma­jor con­cern in the com­mu­nity.”

Lib­eral coun­cil­lor Karlo Sil­jeg led the ar­gu­ment against the in­crease, say­ing coun­cil money would be bet­ter spent on im­prov­ing in­fra­struc­ture for ev­ery­one.

“The in­crease in the re­bate is not an ap­pro­pri­ate way to spend coun­cil funds,” he said.

“The ex­tra $95 is not jus­ti­fied – it is a fis­cally ir­re­spon­si­ble use of coun­cil money.

“It could be put to­wards im­por­tant in­fra­struc­ture that helps all 330,000 peo­ple liv­ing in Black­town in­stead of the 13,000 the re­bate will help.”

La­bor’s Tony Bleas­dale fired back at Cr Sil­jeg and the Lib­eral coun­cil­lors.

“The re­al­ity is pen­sion­ers are do­ing it re­ally tough,” he said.

“New Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tion has just made it even tougher for them and the Lib­eral coun­cil­lors want to stop us from pro­vid­ing pen­sion­ers with a bit of sup­port.

“Black­town’s el­derly are un­der at­tack by a se­lec­tion of the very peo­ple who are meant to rep­re­sent them.”

De­spite ru­mours of a rescis­sion mo­tion from Lib­eral coun­cil­lors, the Fri­day dead­line passed with­out a chal­lenge to the de­ci­sion.

The in­crease will take ef­fect later this year.

Do you agree with the in­creased re­bate? @the­druitt

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