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O'Farrell plan a "cynical cash grab"

DUTY Labor Senator for Cowper, Matt Thistlethwaite, has slammed Liberal Premier Barry O'Farrell's decision to take part of the Federal Government's recent pension increase from 1,313 local pensioners living in public housing.

Premier O'Farrell has announced that from March next year, the state Liberals will use Labor's pension boost to increase public housing rents, taking money straight out the pockets of public housing tenants.

"This is a cruel and cynical cash grab from a typical Liberal Premier who cares more about his own hip pocket than looking out for local pensioners," Senator Thistlethwaite said.

"The Gillard Government is delivering a boost for pensioners to help them make ends meet but Barry O'Farrell just wants take a slice of it for himself.

"It's greedy, it's grubby and it's wrong."

All pensioners living in Cowper have received a lump sum payment from the Federal Labor Government over the past few weeks of $250 for singles and $380 for couples.

Pensioners will also get a permanent boost to their regular payments in March next year.

In total, single pensioners are receiving an extra $338 a year and couples are receiving an extra $510 a year combined.

Pensioners in public housing in New South Wales pay 25 per cent of their pension as rent.

The state Coalition decision means a maximum rate single pensioner will now pay an extra $84.50 a year in rent.

Senator Thistlethwaite said the Gillard Government was delivering the increase as a separate pension supplement so it wouldn't be included when the state government calculated public housing rents, which has been the accepted practice for many years.

"In 2009 we delivered the biggest ever increase to the pension," he said.

"But as soon as Barry O'Farrell became premier he took a cut for himself and pensioners had less money for living expenses.

"All he has to do this time is ignore it.

"Barry just can't help but take a slice for himself."

The Senator said local pensioners would be furious with the Coalition's decision.

"This decision will really hurt them," he added.

"They are sick and tired of seeing Barry O'Farrell's hand in their pocket every time Labor gives them extra money.

"This extra money is for local pensioners.

"It's not for Barry O'Farrell."

Topics:  barry o'farrell, matt thistlethwaite, nsw state budget, pensioners


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