Fairfield pensioners may soon pay more after Canberra cuts rates assistance

Concerned: Fairfield councillor Lawrence White is worried that pensioners may have to pay more for their council rates after the federal government decided to reduce its pensioner rebate contribution. Picture: Anna Warr

Concerned: Fairfield councillor Lawrence White is worried that pensioners may have to pay more for their council rates after the federal government decided to reduce its pensioner rebate contribution. Picture: Anna Warr

PENSIONERS may soon feel the pinch after the federal government cut its contribution towards pensioner rebates.

The council provides about $3.7 million in pensioner rebates each year.

Of this figure, the state government contributes 50 per cent ($1.85 million), the council contributes 45 per cent ($1.665 million) and the federal government foots the bill for the remaining 5 per cent ($185,000).

After the federal government decision to stop contributing the 5 per cent, the state government stepped in to confirm it would cover the $185,000.

But this would be for just a year, meaning there could be a shortfall in years to come.

The matter was discussed at the recent ordinary meeting of Fairfield Council.

Cr Lawrence White told councillors he wanted the council to write to local state and federal MPs, as well as to the Premier, to "ensure the continuation of representation in relation to the issue of pensioner rebates for future years".

"If we don't do this now, all pensioners will later suffer," Cr White said.

"There were 12,822 pensioner rebates given out in Fairfield last year.

"That means that one in five people were qualified for the rebate."

All councillors agreed with him.

The item will also be raised at the Local Government NSW (LGNSW) annual conference in October.

Fairfield Council will submit a motion at the conference requesting LGNSW lobby the state government to confirm it will continue to fund the 5 per cent pensioner rebate, previously funded by the federal government, for future years.

The motion would also seek confirmation that there will be no changes to the future Local Government Act in relation to the state government's requirement to make the 50 per cent contribution towards pensioner rebates.

Other matters at the conference include financial assistance grants, community housing, crown land, family day care and the section 88 waste levy.

It will be held at Coffs Harbour in October.

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