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CVC seeks rates relief for pensioners

Clarence Valley Council will lobby for pensioner rates rebates to be almost doubled. At an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday November 24, councillors voted to lobby for pensioner rebates on ordinary rates and domestic waste management charges to be lifted from their current maximum of $250 to a maximum of $485. The council is seeking higher rebates for water and sewerage services charges, too; from the current maximum of $87.50 to $165 for each service. Currently, the rebates are funded 50 per cent by the state government, 45 per cent by local government and 5 per cent by the federal government. The council will also lobby for the state government’s subsidy for pensioner rebates to be lifted from 50 per cent to 75 per cent, which would result in the CVC’s share being reduced to 20 per cent. It will ask Local Government NSW (LG NSW) to lobby the state government for the increases to be included in the planned revision of the Local Government Act and that the subsidies are increased each year in line with the government’s rate-pegging limit. It will also request that LG NSW seeks the support of the Australian Local Government Association in lobbying the federal government for its subsidy to be indexed each year in accordance with the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s Local Government Cost Index. Mayor Richie Williamson said the pensioner concessions had not increased since the current Local Government Act was introduced in 1993. “That’s 22 years without change,” he said. “Pensioners are being short changed; they could do with a break. “Cr Jason Kingsley, who introduced this motion, calculated that if the rebate was increased in line with the rate-pegged limit over the past 22 years, pensioners would be entitled to a maximum of $485 in rebates for their ordinary rates and waste services and $165 each for water and sewer services. “If we can get the NSW Government to agree to this request, pensioners could be up to $390 a year better off. “Increasing the percentage paid by the NSW Government from 50 per cent to 75 per cent would also reduce the burden on our non-pensioner ratepayers because they would not have to fund the rebates to such a high degree.”