Budget maintains assistance to pensioners

Blacktown City Council continues to provide financial assistance to pensioners despite Council’s budget coming under increasing pressure.

The 2019/2020 Council budget has maintained one of the state’s best rates assistance schemes for pensioners.

Blacktown City Mayor Stephen Bali MP said: “While the vast majority of councils only provide the minimum statutory amount, we acknowledge that many of our pensioners are under considerable pressure meeting day-to-day expenses.

“Council has voted to maintain its rates discount for pensioners at a level nearly double the minimum statutory amount.

“Under the current Council, pensioners receive a further $200, making a total discount of $450, which is close to half the most common rate bill of $978 a year.

“Most of our pensioners are older citizens and we recognise the growing cost of living pressures they face.

“The previous Liberal administration at Council slashed the discount in 2015. One of my first decisions as Mayor in 2016 was the reinstatement of this important social initiative,” said Mayor Bali.

“There are some 35,000 people aged over 65 in Blacktown City, making up around 10 per cent of the population.

“Council is committed to ensuring our seniors enjoy an active and healthy life by providing activities, programs, services and resources to meet the needs of an aging population.

“Many households simply could not function without the unpaid input of grandparents, particularly as there are now very few families that can afford to be single income households,” Mayor Bali said.

A recent survey found that 58 per cent of grandparents have had to sacrifice their own lifestyle and recreation and 30 per cent have had to alter their own work arrangements in order to care for grandchildren.

“Our Council rate discount for pensioners can go a long way in reducing the financial pressure on our grandparents and is an acknowledgement of their value to our community’s wellbeing and the high regard we hold them in,” Mayor Bali said.

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