Pensioners who live in HousingSA properties will receive a rise in their pension with one hand and have it taken away by another.
Member for Frome Geoff Brock MP has been arguing that, particularly in this difficult current climate, pensioners should be able to benefit from the entirety of a small rise in their pension rates, rather than have it automatically reduced through housing rental increases.
“I wrote to the Minister for Human Services, the Hon Michelle Lensink MLC back in September about this issue and have just received a reply – the department is not budging on its policy to raise rents every time a tenant receives an increase in their income,” Mr Brock said.
“In the case of pensioners, their increase is already very small, but is made even smaller by having to pay more to Housing SA.”
“I am extremely disappointed that the government can’t forgo this increase in these difficult times.”
Mr Brock said an increase in pensions was always good news, but to remove one quarter of an already small amount will substantially reduce any real benefits.
Whenever the Aged Pension or other welfare benefits increase, so does the amount of subsidised rent applied by HousingSA who set a rental payment figure of 25% of the tenants’ income.
“The fortnightly pension rate increase of $14.80 for a single person and $22.40 for couples will effectively be reduced by a quarter for HousingSA tenants with subsidised rental agreements,” Mr Brock said.
“The Pandemic has put pressure on prices of everyday household needs, including food, with increases in costs in the shopping basket. I would have hoped our State Government would see how much more difficult it has been for those on income support payments to manage their finances, without adding more to their distress.”
“When I wrote to Minister Lensink I was hoping to have a positive discussion about the issue, but it appears the Government is determined to increase their HousingSA rents without considering the consequences,” Mr Brock said.