Pensioners rally for a fair go

About 150 people rallied in Melbourne on October 10 to call for an increase in pensions for retired workers. The rally also called for better concessions, better transport and stronger access to health services.

The protest was organised by the Fair Go For Pensioners Coalition, which is made up of groups including the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Council of the Ageing and Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria.

The Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria said pensioners were protesting “the rising cost of living, saying daily necessities like food, utilities and transport have increased disproportionately against the pension”.

The council’s chairperson, Joe Caputo said the issue affected Victoria’s ethnic community: “The majority of full pensioners in Victoria are from non-English-speaking backgrounds.

"We support today’s protest because the cost of living, cost of food, costs of utilities have increased and we expect it to increase more, while on the other hand there has been only minor increases in the pension.

“Pensioners from a culturally diverse background worked hard all their lives to grow the Victorian economy and have made really significant contributions and now deserve to live a comfortable life into their golden years.”

Ged Kearney from the Australian Council of Trade Unions told the rally: “Once you stop working, you are still a value to society. Women retire on average with less superannuation than men. Retiring should not mean living in poverty.”

Janet Wood, President of the Council of the Ageing, said: “We are facing rising prices of electricity and bills that are pushing us below the poverty line. Poverty in Australia should not exist. It is not fair if pensioners are below the poverty line in their incomes.”