The Greek Community of Melbourne has called for an increase in pensions in a letter to the Federal Government, due to the recent announcement of the Ministry of Social Services that Australian pensioners will not receive an automatic indexation increase this year, on the grounds that inflation has fallen.
In its letter, the Community points out that many of its members are elderly and rely on their pensions as their only source of income. They stressed that after the announcement of the ministry, many people contacted the Community asking for clarification of this decision, as well as to express their concerns.
The Greek Community of Melbourne notes that not providing an annual increase to retirees will result in significant reduction in quality of life for many.
“We do not think this is the right way to deal with some of the most vulnerable in Australia, especially in these emotional and difficult times. That is why we are asking the Federal Government to consider increasing pensions despite index,” the Greek Community of Melbourne says.
The Community states in its letter that “if the increase in pensions is not possible from the budget, due to the Federal Government’s expenditure on maintaining and creating jobs in these difficult times, for which we applaud the Government, there may be other ways in which a retiree can be helped.”
The Community has listed the following ways that external support can be achieved:
- Adjustment of the control limit of retirees’ assets
- In recent years, the increase in property values has far exceeded the index. However, the increases in pension asset control thresholds do not reflect this increase. As a result, many retirees receive a reduced pension without any other source of income. This has led many of our Community members into very difficult situations.
- Regulation of utilities, health and insurance services
- As the Federal Government is well aware (as the issue dominated the election campaign), sectors such as utilities (water, electricity, gas), insurance and health have seen their costs increase from year to year more than the index. As a result, an increased portion of each retiree’s pension is available to meet these needs, resulting in a consistently reduced quality of life.
The Community adds that the Federal Government, with the help of state governments, should seek to better regulate utilities, health care and insurance to reduce and better manage continuous and excessive annual increases.
“This will have a minimal cost for the Federal Government. However, the benefits will be great and will be welcomed by all Australians, especially retirees and low-income earners,” the Community said.
“It will also mean that Australians will have additional funds to spend on the market, and to stimulate the economy by spending money on small shops / businesses that are the main employers in Australia.”