Federal Member for Chifley, Ed Husic has welcomed the Gillard Government’s announcement that local pensioners have received an increase in their payments to help them balance the household budget.
From 26 September 2011, single people receiving the maximum rate of age, disability and carer pensions, as well as veterans’ income support recipients, will receive an extra $19.50 a fortnight. Pensioner couples combined on the maximum rate will receive an extra $29.60 a fortnight.
Mr Husic said local pensioners will be among 3.4 million across the country who will benefit from the increases.
“There are 24,000 pensioners in Chifley who I know have to watch every cent they spend,” Mr Husic said.
“Historic pension reforms, which the Australian Government delivered three years ago, have improved the indexation system to ensure the pension keeps up with the cost of living.”
Pensions are now indexed twice a year to the higher increase of two measures: the Consumer Price Index or the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index. Pensions are then compared to the Male Total Average Weekly Earnings benchmark and are increased if necessary to meet the wages benchmark.
“Over the last two years, two of the four pension increases have been driven by the pensioner living cost index, and this has happened again with this increase.
“We know that local pensioners on a fixed income have the least room to move in their budgets and that’s why it’s so important that when their cost of living goes up, their pension payment matches it.”
In the six months to June 2011 the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index rose by 2.7 percent, compared to a 2.5 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index and a wages benchmark increase of 2.1 percent.
Following these increases, total pension payments for people on the maximum rate, including the base rate and pension supplement, will be:
? $748.80 a fortnight for singles, and
? $1,129.00 a fortnight for couples combined.
Over the last two years the pension reforms have delivered increases to the maximum pension of about $148 per fortnight for singles and $146 per fortnight for couples combined.
“It’s only fair that after a lifetime of work, you get the helping hand you need in retirement,” Mr Husic said.