The State Liberals today join the Local Government Association to call on Treasurer Koutsantonis to confirm whether he still intends to cut pensioner concessions.
The LGA has today said that no legislative or regulatory changes have been put forward to alter the current arrangement, despite Treasurer Koutsantonis telling South Australians the State Government will not fund the concession after 1 July this year.
If legislation or regulations are introduced after council rate notices are printed, councils will be forced to pulp rates notices and print new ones – an additional cost to ratepayers.
“Treasurer Koutsantonis must stop playing politics with pensioners and outline today whether his Government’s cut to pensioner concessions is going ahead or not,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.
“The State Liberals will move to block any regulation aimed at removing pensioner concession payments on local government rates.
“This will ensure approximately 160,000 pensioners remain entitled to up to $190 per annum in concessions, worth a total of $32 million a year.
“The Weatherill Labor Government has tried to claim this is due to the federal budget, but no other state in the country has abolished this concession, despite all facing the same circumstances from Canberra.”
Senior Labor MP, Michael Atkinson, has previously claimed the $190 pensioner concession will remain despite the Weatherill Labor Government saying it will be abolished.
In response to a letter from a member of the public about this issue, Mr Atkinson states:
“I think the way the concession is legally structured, it is probably impossible for the State Government not to pick up the tab...I predict you’ll keep the rebate.”
“We live in the highest taxed state in the nation and removing this concessional payment will be slugging some of the most vulnerable in our society with a cost of living increase they just can’t afford,” said Mr Marshall.
“It is inexcusable to keep jacking up taxes and ripping away concession payments from pensioners, all because Labor are running a record budget deficit and can’t manage the state’s finances.”