Member for Kiama Gareth Ward has moved a motion on the floor of State Parliament to call on the NSW Government to increase the pensioner concessions for local council rates which have been fixed at a maximum of $250 for the past three decades.

Mr Ward said the NSW Government needs to do more to help with cost-of-living pressures for vulnerable families, including seniors.

“Current pensioner concessions for local council rates have been fixed at a maximum of $250 for general rates and $87.50 for water and sewer charges for 31 years, since the Local Government Act 1993 came into force. It literally hasn’t budged since then,” Mr Ward said.

“In the last three decades, council rates and charges have increased markedly, reducing the relative value of this concession, and placing further cost pressures on those who are vulnerable.

“$250 dollars in 2024 is hardly comparable to $250 in 1993 and the NSW Labor Government just isn’t addressing this burden for our local seniors – so I am calling on the Premier and the Minister for Local Government to act,” he said.

Mr Ward is also today calling on the NSW Minns Labor Government to address this immediately by introducing legislation that will double the current pensioner concessions to $500 for general rates, and $175 for water and sewerage charges.

“I am calling for current pensioner concessions to be indexed annually, in line with annual rate increases, to ensure that as rates rise, the concession increases at the rate,” he said.

“Given the fact that the Minns Labor Government lied to regional seniors and cut the Regional Seniors Travel Card, this is one way the NSW Government could make it up to regional seniors. My motion also seeks to recognise the needs of self-funded retirees who are too often ignored by governments of both political colours,” Mr Ward concluded.

Mr Ward’s motion in Parliament is:

That this House:

(1) Notes that cost of living pressures are particularly profound for people on fixed incomes.

(2) Calls on the Government to significantly increase the pensioner council rates rebate.

(3) Calls on the Government to extend these increases to part pensioners and self-funded retirees.