by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerange
Member for McKillop Mitch Williams (right) added his voice to the pensioner concession debate this week with a strongly worded statement to 5THE FM.
Mr Williams said, “After 12 years of financial mismanagement the South Australian State Labor Government thinks it can continue to take the South Australian public for fools.”
“The latest iteration of this arrogance is its attempt to blame the Federal Coalition Government for its own decision which will see the withdrawal of pensioner concessions for Council rate payments.”
South Australia’s Labor Government claims that the Commonwealth withdrawal from the Financial Partnerships Program, the funding stream which amongst other things provided funds for pensioner concessions (not just for local government rate concessions but also concessions for water and electricity costs) ignores the reality that the financial contributions from the Commonwealth to the State Government, in total, continue to grow.”
“Notwithstanding the Commonwealth’s withdrawal from this particular program, the total financial contribution from Canberra to the South Australian Government continues to grow and it is the South Australian Government, that is Jay Weatherill, Tom Koutsantonis and their Cabinet colleagues, who apply the discretion as to where this growing funding contribution is applied.”
“It is fact that the South Australian financial receipt from Canberra is 7% greater in the current financial year than in the previous financial year and that on average it will grow by a similar amount for at least the next three years. That is for the whole of the budget cycle described in the last Commonwealth Budget handed down in May last year.”
“It is fact that this is more than double the rate of inflation,” he said.
“It is fact that is the South Australian Government that sets its priorities as to where these funds are spent.”
“It is Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis and Premier Jay Weatherill who have decided that pensioner concessions against their Council rate obligations is of a lower priority than the myriad of other expenditures which they have signed off on, including the expenditure of over a million dollars on a public advertising campaign specifically aimed at blaming the Federal Government for supposed cuts to State Government services when it is the State Government’s ongoing financial mismanagement and poor decision making which have lead South Australians to being the highest taxed of all Australians and facing declining State Government Services.”
“In the meantime the state Liberal team, with the support of Upper House Cross Bench members, will seek to prevent the withdrawal of the pensioner rate concessions by Labor.”