(Cairns... Far North Queensland)
The contempt in which successive governments have treated our Senior Citizens can at best be described as a National disgrace.
These men and women fought and survived world wars, depressions, droughts, floods and numerous other adversities known to man - and then some. It was their blood, sweat and tears that created an economy that was the envy of the modern world. It was in an era of, if you were fortunate enough to have a job:
But what have they seen for all their hardships?
As they reached retirement age, having struggled and toiled, for most, over 50 years, contributing by way of income taxes to finally receive the Aged Pension, the real struggle began. The government, obviously believing that;
'... you entered the world with nothing, you will leave the world with nothing'
systematically and without compassion, eroded their entitlement to where today, it is but a pittance.
The government MUST realise that the welfare and care of Australia's Senior Citizens is of concern to everybody. In the past 5 years the Aged Pension has increased by a meagrely $7.50 per week.
The exceptions to the above are the salary increases, massive superannuation payouts, lurks and perks attributed to themselves - the politicians - often voted upon in the dead of night to avoid public scrutiny, to ensure their own comfortable lifestyle.
The Government Policy:
The Government is committed to maintaining the single rate of pension at 25 per cent of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) and has included provision for this commitment in the Budget Forward Estimates.
This commitment ensures that pensioners and specified allowees share in improvements in community living standards, as measured by MTAWE. It is an important measure for women, given their high representation in pensioner groups; for example, nearly 66 per cent of age pensioners are women.
Pensions and allowances will also continue to be indexed twice a year in March and September according to movements in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
The announcement by the Prime Minister (30/11/97), that a $1.3 billion land fund has been made available to aboriginals, who do not have legitimate land claims, is a blatant abuse of taxpayer money.
The Australian Pensioner, who HAS a legitimate claim, is ignored in favour of minority groups and foreign aid. The government does not understand the needs of our Senior Citizens or the vital role they play in our communities.
It is the right of every Australian Senior Citizen, not privilege, to enjoy the best possible health care, and must include:
The government MUST implement an immediate and substantial increase to the base Pension Allowance, and review the index in real term's, not hypothetical (CPI) figures.
Return to Aged Care: INDEX
Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870 Australia