As the Premier marks his two year anniversary, pensioners and war widows are waiting to hear if the State Government will again gouge their recent Commonwealth pension increase by jacking up public housing rents.
On March 20, pensioners across Australia received a fortnightly increase of $35.80 for singles and $54 for couples.
In Parliament last week the NSW Minister for Finance and Services failed to clarify whether the O'Farrell Government will again increase public housing rents for pensioners. The O'Farrell Government has already lifted rents twice – effectively penalising pensioners for having slightly more income.
"Barry O'Farrell has form on this issue – whenever pensioners are about to receive a little extra financial assistance from the Federal Government, he snatches it away," Shadow Minister for Housing Sophie Cotsis said.
"The Government raised pensioners' public housing rents in 2011, it did it again in 2012 – so the Premier must clarify his intentions regarding this latest pension increase.
"Under the O'Farrell Government, public housing rent for pensioners has gone up by $618 a year.
"Mr O'Farrell promised to tackle the cost of living.
"So why does he keep attacking the most defenceless members of our community – people who have loyally paid into our tax system all their lives and today subsist on fixed incomes?
“When asked in Parliament today to assure seniors that the Government won’t gouge their most recent pension increase by jacking up public housing rents, Minister Greg Pearce refused to provide any clarification.
“A Government that repeatedly resorts to this kind of cash grab clearly lacks compassion for those struggling to keep a roof over their heads.
"It's a simple question, Minister. Will you raise public housing rents – yes or no?"