Letters

More on rate rise impact

Further to my letter to the editor 7-6-17 on the proposed Special Rate Variation (SRV) by Clarence Valley Council.
My previous letter made reference to the effect on pensioners of the 1-1-17 changes to the taper rate. A couple of examples follow. I also compare the current pension rates to the adult minimum wage.
Pensioner couples who are home owners were particularly hard-hit. A couple in this group whose assets reach the cut-off point for any pension assistance will have only enough income producing funds to produce about $20,000pa return at today’s investment rates. That’s for two people.
Pensioner couples who are non-homeowners fared better. Allowable assets are now $575,000 and they receive a full pension of $34,814 and up to $3224 rent assistance if eligible. Still far from adequate.
Contrast the above pensioner examples with the 2017 male minimum wage soon to be $695 per week ($36000 per annum) for one person. That amount has been condemned by unions and referred to as living under the poverty line.
Four councillors responded to my submission to council, which was unexpected and heartening. Councillor Baker was extremely helpful in directing me to publicly accessible data that is very informative but hard to find. As well he had no objection to debating the pros and cons of the issue.
I am particularly opposed to the retention of the SRV in the base after 2021. The effect of compounding over the long term would be significant. If the application is approved the three-year injection of extra rate revenue may have done its job. Why the need to retain the SRV component?
Ron Mitchell,
Yamba

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