Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

O’Farrell rips money away from 84,000 pensioners

Premier Barry O’Farrell today announced he will be taking away money the Gillard Government is delivering to help 84,000 NSW pensioners who live in public housing.

All pensioners living in New South Wales will receive an increase in their pension payments as part of the Federal Labor Government’s household assistance package.

Single pensioners will receive $338 a year and couples $510 combined a year.

This extra money is meant for pensioners and not for Barry O’Farrell.

The New South Wales Government’s decision to hike public housing rents is nothing more than a cash grab that will hit pensioners and vulnerable families.

The Gillard Government will be delivering our increase to pension payments as a stand-alone pension supplement.

We did this so the payment would not be included when state governments calculate public housing rent. Over many years, the accepted practice has been for state governments not to take a cut from stand-alone supplements.

But Barry O’Farrell has shown he is more interested in lining his own pockets than helping pensioners.

Pensioners in public housing in New South Wales pay 25 per cent of their pension as rent. Barry O’Farrell’s decision means a maximum rate single pensioner will now pay an extra $84.50 a year in rent.

Treasury modelling suggests the cost of house repairs will rise 0.6 per cent as a result of the carbon price – around a third what the New South Wales Government is claiming.

They are using the carbon price as cover to do what Liberal Governments always do – raise public housing rents.

Unlike Barry O’Farrell, the Gillard Government is supporting those people who need help the most.

The Gillard Government is also supporting public housing in New South Wales with a more than $2 billion investment under the Social Housing initiative and National Partnership Agreement on Social Housing.

This investment is delivering 7,000 new homes and repairs and maintenance to more than 31,000 homes. This is the highest ever investment by the Commonwealth in public housing at the State level.