Senior Citizens member Mick McEniery says while the pension increase is welcomed, it will need to keep up with rising living costs.
Senior Citizens member Mick McEniery says while the pension increase is welcomed, it will need to keep up with rising living costs. Emma Channon

Pensioners' daily struggle

HEAVILY involved in the Warwick Senior Citizens club and a pensioner himself, Mick McEniery sees first-hand how difficult it is for pensioners to make ends meet.

With the cost of living only on the rise he says any little bit helps – which is why news of an increase to the pension fell on grateful ears.

“Any sort of direct payment is helpful,” he said.

“If the electricity prices are going to go up like they’ve forecast, pensioners will need all the help they can get.”

At the weekend, the Gillard government confirmed it would be increasing pensions by 2.8% over two years as compensation for the increased costs under the carbon tax.

While some have argued that figure will over-compensate carbon tax burdens, Mr McEniery said it was a good start.

“But I think it will need to be progressively increased,” he said.

“It would need to continue in one form or another or quite a few pensioners will find it difficult still, with the price of electricity.”

The payments are expected to begin July 1 next year.

The 2.8% rise is expected to amount to $500 a year for single pensioners and $750 for couples.

Mr McEniery said more would need to be given to pensioners as compensation for increased costs of living.

“I don’t think a lot of pensioners can afford fuel – they’re finding it very difficult to run their cars,” he said.

“There’s a lot of other costs that are going up and are impacting overall on the pensioners and they’re getting very little increase to compensate for these rises.”

To manage these costs, Mr McEniery said pensioners are having to forfeit everyday activities.

“More of them are staying at home.

"I think the problem is because of that, they’re becoming more isolated from the community,” he said.

“That’s one thing the Senior Citizens is looking to do – to get these people back into some activities and interacting with other pensioners.”



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