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To Lend a Pensioner a Hand, please drop off vouchers to
MIA Birds and Fish in Benerembah Street.

From The Editor (The Area News 2 June 2008)

THE announcement of a campaign, Lend a Pensioner a Hand, to assist Griffith's senior residents comes at a time when the plight of this country's pensioners is firmly in the news. (see story below)

So outraged were many of Australia's 3.5 million pensioners with their treatment in the Federal Budget that they have tossed aside their zimmer frames and taken the fight to the Rudd government, demanding the respect they deserve for making this country for what it is today.

That up to 300 elderly citizens in Melbourne stripped to their underwear and blockaded the city's CBD is indicative of the passion surrounding the issue. After all, who in the community are more susceptible to the rising cost of living than pensioners?

Rising grocery prices, rising rents and rising fuel prices - especially in a city like Griffith with such a poor public transport system - are all placing elderly residents under the pump at a time when they should be spending their golden years on the golf course, playing cards or gardening without a worry in the world.

The sudden verve and vigour these golden oldies have pursued the government with following the Budget has taken Prime Minister Kevin Rudd by surprise, as he firmly believed he had seniors well and truly covered.

Pointing to the one-off lump sum payment of $500, the increase in concession allowances from $218 to $500 and the rise in the utilities allowance from $107.20 to $500, the PM said older people had never been better off.

But despite these measures, it remains that more than 40 per cent of seniors surveyed by Newspoll believe they will in fact be worse off because there was no increase in the base pension rate. What many pensioners are calling for is a 10 per cent increase in the pension rate to bring it up to 35 per cent of an average weekly wage.

Is that an unreasonable request given the government just announced a $22 billion surplus? We think not.


AS PENSIONERS struggle to stretch their meagre weekly payouts, a Griffith woman is urging locals to consider helping ease their burden.

To kick off a new campaign in Griffith known as Lend a Pensioner a Hand, Suicide Awareness' Val Rowe has presented 86 year old pensioner Allan Salmon a voucher from Rossies Foodworks for $60.

The idea isn't original, but it is the first time an initiative of this kind has been tried here in Griffith. "I saw what they were doing on one of the current affair shows with the Adopt a Pensioner scheme and I just thought it was a brilliant idea," she said. "Whether it's vouchers for food, the chemist or fuel, I hope people will consider doing something to help them out. I can't believe they got nothing in the budget. If it wasn't for our elderly residents, this country wouldn't be where it is today. It is important they are looked after."

Vouchers can be dropped off at MIA Birds and Fish in Benerembah Street. In her role with the local support group, Mrs Rowe said she sees first hand the elderly who suffer depression. "There are a lot of pensioners out there who could do with a hand, even if some are too proud to admit it," she said.

"I know everyone is struggling at the moment, but even if it's a $10 food voucher I think it would help."

A thankful Mr Salmon, who lives alone in Griffith, with his closest family in Geelong, called the gesture "very generous". " I think vouchers will be very helpful and I thank Mrs Rowe for it," he said.

By Tania Pattison, The Area News, 2 June 2008.




Suicide Awareness .com Inc

PO Box 8039, Griffith
NSW 2680, Australia