Thursday, 17 July 2014
Hindmarsh Electorate: Community Forums
I rise today to provide details about two recent community forums held in the electorate of Hindmarsh with the Hon. Kevin Andrews, Minister for Social Services and member for Menzies. The forums were held in Edwardstown and Lockleys in the north and the south of the electorate. I would like to thank the Lockleys and Edwardstown bowling clubs for their hospitality and assistance in making these forums successful.
The forums were well-attended by the local residents and people in Hindmarsh, particularly seniors, who came along to meet the minister and discuss a broad range of matters relevant to his portfolio. Those who attended were provided with a detailed and informative presentation of Australia's ageing population, the challenges with our transitioning economy, the budget and the expenditure needed going forward to provide essential services, as well as the fiscal outlook going forward. General discussion followed covering many topics, including disability and carers, health, the budget and the government's ongoing support for pensions.
Those attending were pleased to receive a better understanding of the age pension arrangements and future increases, including no reduction in the age pension in the next three years. The pension will continue to increase twice a year. From September 2017 the pension increases will be indexed to CPI rather than wages, and the family home will not be included in the pension assets test.
A number of community groups have contacted me about these matters that are emanating from the budget, including ANFE, the National Association of Migrant Families for the Italian community; COASIT, a peak body for organisations supporting older Italians in South Australia; and a retirees group—to name a few.
The forum provided a great opportunity to explain the government's ongoing support for seniors, including increased annual funding in health in South Australia over the next four years by over $300 million, providing incentive payments for businesses hiring Australians over the age of 50 who have been out of work, and abolishing the carbon tax that will save households, on average, $550 per year but, importantly, the energy supplement will remain.
It was wonderful to have the minister in my electorate. I am greatly appreciative of his visit and I will look forward to the possibility of hosting him again when he returns to South Australia for the Santos Tour Down Under in January next year. One stage of the race will commence in my electorate and I know that the minister is a keen cyclist. I will look forward to, hopefully, riding with him. Also evident at the forum was the issue of the carbon tax.
Finally, I mention the Federation for Hellenic Associations for Pensioners and Aged. Last week, I was invited by Nick, the president, and Jim, the secretary, to join them for some fine Greek coffee. I want to thank them for their hospitality.