Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Delivering for Seniors in Bankstown

Joint Media Release with:

  • Daryl Melham MP
    Member for Banks

Seniors in Bankstown and St George are benefitting from higher pension payments and more support to stay connected with family, friends and the community thanks to the Gillard Labor Government.

The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin joined the Member for Banks, Daryl Melham at the Padstow Seniors Centre today to talk about how Federal Labor is delivering for local seniors.

“I’m really proud of what Labor is doing to support pensioners and older residents in St George,” Ms Macklin said.

“Labor has delivered the biggest increase to the pension in more than a century and changed the indexation system so the pension now better keeps pace with the cost of living.

“Since 2009, the maximum rate of the pension has gone up by $207 a fortnight for singles and $236 a fortnight for couples, benefitting more than 22,000 local pensioners.”

Ms Macklin said last month’s Budget built on Federal Labor’s strong record of delivering for older Australians.

Local seniors who attend one of the eight Broadband for Seniors internet kiosks in the area will benefit from $10 million in new funding under the new Keeping Seniors Connected initiative, to help seniors stay connected to family and friends online and learn new computer skills.

“Federal Labor’s Broadband for Seniors program has been a huge success, with about 250,000 older Australians accessing the internet in about 2,000 internet kiosks across the country,” Ms Macklin said.

“The extra support Labor is delivering means every kiosk can receive a new computer and touchscreen monitor so local seniors can benefit from the very latest in interactive programs and applications.

“The eight internet kiosks in the electorate of Banks can also each receive a $2,000 grant to boost training and information sessions for seniors, in particular on cyber safety and personal security.”

Broadband for Seniors kiosks are located in community places where seniors get together, like senior citizens centres and bowls clubs. The kiosks provide seniors with free access to computers with broadband internet, as well as training in basic computing, internet browsing and email skills from teams of dedicated volunteers.

Mr Melham said Labor was also investing more than $112 million over four years in a trial program to help eligible pensioners who want to downsize their home without it immediately affecting their pension.

“We know that as people get older, many want to downsize their home to something that better suits their needs, but they can be worried about the impact on their pension,” Mr Melham said.

“This trial means eligible pensioners who want to downsize can have some of the excess sale proceeds set aside and exempt from the pension means test for up to ten years.

“This will give local pensioners more options when considering their living arrangements as they get older, and it will help us determine whether a means test exemption such as this will help reduce some of the pressure on the local housing market.

“Labor will keep working hard to make sure seniors in Bankstown and St George are getting the support they need in retirement.”

The eight Broadband for Seniors Kiosks in the electorate of Banks are located at:

  • Roberts Lodge, 168 Boundary Road, Peakhurst.
  • Beauty Point Retirement Resort, 33 Bernard Road, Padstow Heights.
  • Southaven Hostel, 11 Queensbury Road, Padstow Heights.
  • St George Careers Development Centre, 2 Rose Street, Hurstville.
  • Club Hurstville, 29 Greenacre Road, South Hurstville.
  • Mary Andrews Village, 857 King Georges Road, South Hurstville.
  • Pole Depot Community Centre, 23 St Georges Road, Penhurst.
  • Oatley RSL & Community Club, 23 Letitia Street, Oatley.