April 21, 2009
More than 2650 Gippslanders have sent a message to the Prime Minister to make sure the Government doesn’t back away from its promises to increase pension rates in next month’s budget.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has received the messages in response to his campaign calling for an increase in pensions, including Disability Support Pensions and payments for carers.
Mr Chester sent out pre-written postcards across the Gippsland electorate to provide locals with an easy means of registering their support for a permanent increase in the pension.
“The response has been overwhelming and demonstrates the importance of this issue to the Gippsland community,” Mr Chester said.
“I’ve used the replies to call on the Prime Minister to make sure pensioners receive a much-needed boost when the budget is announced in three weeks time.
“I’m not surprised by the strong response from the local community. The pension rate was one of the biggest issues during the Gippsland by-election where I promised to fight for a better deal for older Gippslanders and carers.
“There have been some positive remarks made by senior Government Ministers and I’m optimistic that the budget will provide some additional support.”
Mr Chester said the government had made promises to increase the age pension, but Gippslanders wouldn’t believe it until the money was in their bank accounts.
“The pension review has been completed but the findings have not been made public at this stage. Community pressure has led to the issue becoming a national debate and we must keep the pressure on the Government to make sure that the promised pension increases get through the budget process,” Mr Chester said.
“I accept that the global financial situation has placed added pressure on the budget but it shouldn’t be pensioners, carers and people with a disability who miss out. “Everyone from the Prime Minister down has admitted that they couldn’t survive on current pension rates. As a nation, we can’t afford to ignore the plight of pensioners any longer and I will continue to fight for a fair go for all.”