Budget hit pensioners: 'We are going through another war'
TOOWOOMBA fared well with major capital funding in yesterday's State Budget but pensioners are bracing for cuts to the concessions on which they rely.
Pensioner Ray Venaglia expects his quality of life will revert to levels not experienced since the Second World War.
A 15 per cent cut is being considered to a range of concessions on items including car registration, the Electricity Rebate Scheme, the South East Queensland Pensioner Water Subsidy Scheme, the Pensioner Rate Subsidy Scheme and public transport.
During the Second World War, Mr Venaglia was a teenager working on a farm at what has since become the suburb of Wilsonton.
"It is getting to the same stage now. We are going through another war," Mr Venaglia, now 86, said.
"Everything was rationed.
"The farmers were lucky because they could produce vegetables, cream and milk."
He and his wife Noela, 83, now live in a Harristown caravan park.
"We thought it was tough in the war but it is going to be a lot tougher in the next 12 to 18 months."
Fellow Toowoomba pensioner Paul Cain said the concessions he had were very valuable to him.
"If we lose them, it is not good," Mr Cain said.
The former contract mower and laundry worker said he didn't use much electricity because he lived on his own.
"It is still a whopping bill when you get it."
Treasurer Tim Nicholls blamed his federal counterparts for the changes.
"The Federal Government's decision to unilaterally and surprisingly terminate the National Partnership Agreement has meant that the State has had to look at how much it can do to support concessions," Mr Nicholls said.
"We have increased our concessions over the last year by nine per cent. Those concessions for which we remain responsible we will continue to fully fund.
"We've increased our contribution to those that we've shared with the Federal Government. But we haven't been able to absorb all of those costs."
He called on residents to lobby Member for Groom Ian Macfarlane to convince the Federal Government to reverse the National Partnership Agreement.
"At the moment we are targeting the first of October for those changes to be flowing through to those concessions, particularly in terms of rates, gas, electricity and water.