City of Sydney Councillor Linda Scott is calling upon Lord Mayor Clover Moore and her City of Sydney colleagues to ensure the long-term viability of full rate rebates for pensioners in the City of Sydney.
Pensioners in the City of Sydney currently receive full rebates on their council rates. This scheme is funded by the federal government, however the recent federal budget included a $750,000 shortfall on the funding needed to continue these rebates.
The NSW Government has committed to funding the scheme but has not made any commitments for future years, according to Cr Scott.
“I’m calling on the Lord Mayor and council to ensure that the City of Sydney continues to give free rates to pensioners and calling on my Liberal colleagues to have this money that’s been cut from councils across the state reinstated,” Cr Scott said.
“I’m worried that in future years – because of Liberal cuts – the City’s free rates for pensioners will not continue.”
Liberal Councillor Edward Mandla said he did not think sustaining full rebates for pensioners should be a priority for the City of Sydney.
“Our rates are the lowest in the state and pensioners can still get rate relief which is really unusual,” he said.
“The number of people who are aged 65 and over in the City of Sydney area is about 5.2%, or two thousand five hundred households. We are talking about a very small number.”
John Rawlings, a Glebe resident and disability pensioner, argued for the importance of maintaining full rate rebates for pensioners in the City of Sydney.
“If these rebates were to be taken away it would be a really serious financial burden on me,” he said.
“The $1,200 I get from rebates each year makes a big difference to my ability to get by.”
Cr Scott echoed this concern about costs of living for pensioners in the area.
Mr Rawlings also expressed his disappointment in the cuts that have already been announced in the federal budget.
“This government promised they wouldn’t target pensioners and they have broken that promise.”
A spokesperson for Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that the City is committed to maintaining pensioners’ rebates.
“The NSW Minister for Aging John Ajaka has said he will be making representation to the Federal Government to try to convince them to reverse their funding cut,” he said.