darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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October 14, 2008

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says the decision to provide a pre-Christmas bonus to pensioners and carers will help Gippslanders cope with the increased cost of living.

Mr Chester has conducted a long-running campaign to secure a boost in the level of support for pensioners, carers and people with disabilities and has welcomed today’s announcement by the Prime Minister.

“This is a great win for Gippslanders who are struggling to make ends meet on the pension,” Mr Chester said.

“The decision to provide bonus payments of $1400 for single pensioners and $2100 for couples in December this year is a breakthrough that will bring some relief for Gippslanders. I also welcome the announcement relating to the carers allowance of an additional $1000 per person in care.

“It has been a long time coming, but I’m pleased that the government has finally listened to the pleas of people on low incomes who have fallen behind as prices for every day items increased, particularly over the past 12 months.”

Mr Chester said the bonus payment of $1400 worked out to $26 per week for a year – almost equal to the $30 per week of urgent relief he had supported during the June by-election campaign.

“Following many representations and much personal lobbying, I am delighted that the Government has also included carers in its support package,” Mr Chester said.

“This bonus is only a short-term relief to assist pensioners and carers to meet the increased costs of groceries, petrol and food.

“It does buy some time but there must still be a permanent increase in pensions – including payments to carers and people with a disability – to assist them in the longer term.”

Mr Chester has been an active lobbyist for pensioners, having been elected on a platform of providing a fair go for all. He conducted a petition during the by-election campaign and has written several times to Rudd Government Ministers along with raising the issue during Federal Parliamentary debate.

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