Pensioner rebate rises
DEPUTY MAYOR BACKS LABOR COUNCILLORS OVER $95 INCREASE
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