Pensioners on the Coast deserve a fair go
MARILYN Kerr spent her working life as an accountant, but she cannot make living on a pension on the Sunshine Coast add up.
It is the Sunshine Coast Council, the State Government and the Federal Government's failure to give pensioners like her, living in a leasehold premise at a retirement complex, a fair go that is the problem.
Ms Kerr bought a leasehold premise at Aveo's Peregian Springs complex for $75,000 which entitles her to lease the premise for her lifetime, with no return.
She was happy to do that, knowing she stood to lose the investment, as she thought she would be buying into a stress-free lifestyle her pension would cover.
But the monthly $1554 fee for staying there, which includes three meals a day and washing of her linen, is putting a huge dent in her pension, which is $500 a week.
As it is she is relying on the charity of her mum and daughter to help her each cope each month financially with the extras such as insurance, medical bills and incidentals.
Her monthly fee would be less if all level of governments would make it compulsory to ensure pensioners living in leasehold premises are entitled to the same concessions.
"Because I don't own the apartment, I am not entitled to concessions other pensioners who own their properties are," she said.
"I pay $224 a year more (in rates) than the apartment next to me that is freehold."
She also loses the Unitywater pensioners concession of $120 a year.
While she says some councils, including the Gold Coast and Brisbane, have passed these concessions on to leaseholders, the Sunshine Coast Council hasn't.
"It needs to be legislated," she said.
"Scott Morrison (federal treasurer) is looking at close loopholes as making money out of leasehold pensioners has to stop."
The Sunshine Coast Council is considering the concessions as part of its budgetary deliberations.