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Pensioner rate relief considered for city council budget

The Adelaide City Council will investigate reinstating rate rebates in its upcoming budget to give property owners on an aged care or disability support pension some cost-of-living relief.

Mar 27, 2024, updated Mar 27, 2024
Adelaide City councillor Phil Martin wants to reinstate an axed rate rebate for aged and disability pensioners in the upcoming budget to help with the cost of living crisis. Photo: Tony Lewis / InDaily

Adelaide City councillor Phil Martin wants to reinstate an axed rate rebate for aged and disability pensioners in the upcoming budget to help with the cost of living crisis. Photo: Tony Lewis / InDaily

Last night, Councillor Phillip Martin proposed the council investigate reinstating the rate rebates in the upcoming council budget.

The council previously provided a concession rate rebate of $100 per year for eligible pensioner concession holders, up until the 2021-22 financial year.

It was one of the last councils to provide the rebate after a cost of living concession was introduced by the state government in 2015.

The cost of living concession is designed to help people on low or fixed incomes with general living expenses such as council rates, energy and medical bills. 

Martin said despite the existing state government support it was important for the council to consider help at a time where electricity “in my household runs at thousands of dollars a year” and medical “bulk billing has all but disappeared”.

Eligible pensioner concession card holders who are owner-occupiers – including those on an aged or disability support pension – receive an annual payment of $243.90. 

Martin said reinstating the rebate ought to be part of the council’s budget considerations, as it would only cost the Adelaide City Council $35,000 and would go “a very long way” for pensioners. 

“If you’re an aged pensioner trying to exist on $20,000 a year in a property here in Adelaide, which you may have inherited from parents, which you may be living in on your own, perhaps in a wheelchair, $100 is frankly bugger all,” he said. 

Councillor Mary Couros, who was a fellow councillor of Martin’s when the rebate was scrapped in 2021, said she voted against cutting it at the time and it was time to revisit the issue. 

Councillor Arman Abrahimzadeh voted against reinstating the rebate, saying that while he acknowledged the cost of living crisis it would not be fair to consider rebates for some residents but not businesses. 

“If we are going to look at something like this I think it would be fair of us to look at a similar sort of scheme for our businesses who are also struggling,” he said. 

The council voted to investigate the rate rebate for consideration in the in the upcoming budget, with councillors Abrahimzadeah and Simon Hou opposed. 

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