Griffith pensioners outraged at federal budget

GRIFFITH pensioners were outraged by budget cuts which will eliminate a whole range of entitlements for older Australians.

PENSION PAIN: Don Oslington is furious the government broke its promise to give pensioners a fair go.

PENSION PAIN: Don Oslington is furious the government broke its promise to give pensioners a fair go.

From 2017 the age pension will rise in line with the consumer price index rather than average male wages, the pension age will be lifted to 70 from 2035 and seniors will all have to pay $7 to visit a bulk-billing GP and $20.80 if that consultation results in a blood test or prescription.

72-year-old Griffith man Don Oslington said the prime minister had broken a promise to give elderly Australians a break.

"Take for example roof tilers who carry blooming tiles up roofs, their backs are buggered by 50," Mr Oslington said

"Who is going to employ a 68-year-old roof tiler whose back is buggered and can't handle any heavy lifting?

"The pension isn't adequate as it is and pensioners are just surviving but that's it.

"The budget stuffed everything, Tony Abbott said he wasn't touching the pensions and he has, which just shows they're not fair dinkum."

The head of Griffith's branch of the Combined Pensioners and Supperannuants Association (CPSA) Peter Knox said older locals would feel the pinch from a tax on petrol as well as the measures aimed at pensioners.

"Pensioners and low income earners in the bush will get stung by the fuel excise tax because the only mode of transport here is a motor vehicle," Mr Knox said.

"I had a medical procedure in Wagga recently and of course I had to drive there, what else was I going to do?

"I am concerned all that money will be going to Sydney and Melbourne roads, we've had roads here for 50 years with no tar on them and I doubt they'll fix those.

"Lifting the retirement age is also ridiculous, I'm a painter by trade and I had to give up work at 60, not because I wanted to but you can't climb ladders at this age."

Another budgetary measure sure to burn a hole in pensioners' pockets was a tighter eligibility criteria for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card which took into account untaxed superannuation.

Pensioners were pleased with a Restart program granting employers $10,000 over two years for hiring the mature-aged unemployed and free bowel screening every two years for people aged between 50 and 74 by 2020.

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