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Hit up pensioners: report

Thursday, 2nd May, 2013

Pensioner Dawn Mawby is worried about a proposal to scrap the $250 council rates concession. Pensioner Dawn Mawby is worried about a proposal to scrap the $250 council rates concession.

By Erica Visser

Pensioners may have to pay City Council more in rates if the State Government acts on a recommendation to scrap a $250 concession.

The idea was put forward in the Independent Local Government Review Panel's findings, which were released last week.

The Government-commissioned report presents a number of ways to improve NSW local government.

Among them is a bid to scrap the concession that pensioners receive on Council rates annually.

The panel claimed that the discount should be abolished because of the impact the ageing population was having on Council revenue.

Local by-election Labor candidate Geoff Cullenward said that the issue was an important one for him.

"As a candidate for election to the Broken Hill City Council, I am very much aware of Council's current financial position and the need to look carefully at the delivery of community services," he said.

"However, if elected, I will work very hard with the local Labor team to ensure that the needs of the less well-off and less advantaged members of our community are protected."

Mr Cullenward said that pensioners already pay around $2000 in rates each year, and Shadow Minister for Local Government Sophie Cotsis said they were right to be concerned.

"The fact (Premier Barry) O'Farrell hasn't ruled it out for five days tells you it is being actively considered within the State Government," Ms Cotsis said.

However, the Government said that concerns was premature.

Local pensioner Dawn Mawby said that she would feel the pinch if the concession were scrapped.

"I mean every little bit helps and if you didn't have it anymore you'd really feel it," she said.

Mayor Wincen Cuy would not comment on the matter as he had not read that section of the panel's report.

The panel will visit Broken Hill in the coming months to consult on the suggested changes to local government.

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