MELTON Vietnam veterans have welcomed pension increases that will come into effect this week.
As part of a boost to the aged, people with disability and their carers, and veterans on income support, singles on the maximum pension rate will receive an extra $17.10 a fortnight and couples an extra $25.80 from Thursday.
Melton Vietnam Veterans Association vice-president John Hodges said any increase was welcome because the gap between pensions and wages continued to widen.
“We are nowhere near where we should be in regards to other pension increases . . . we have been falling further and further behind in regards to wage indexation for years and it appears that this minimal increase leaves us in the same situation.”
Mr Hodges said increasing energy costs were “horrific” for pensioners.
“Over the past three to five years, I would say our energy costs have gone up 70 per cent,” he said.
“The dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to.”
Mr Hodges said up to 120 of the association’s members were doing it tough.
“Some of the vets were tradesmen when they were working, earning around $80,000, and now they receive $18,000,” he said. “The gap continues to increase.”
Gorton Labor MP Brendan O’Connor said seniors had the least room to move in their budget. “That’s why it’s so important that when prices go up, the pension also goes up.”
A Department of Veterans’ Affairs spokesman said income support pensions were indexed twice a year, in March and September.