Budget 2014: Pensioner calls it 'financial euthanasia'

Battling: Dave and Kay Cox of Corrimal say they helped build Australia and the pension changes in the budget aren't just reward for their hard work. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Battling: Dave and Kay Cox of Corrimal say they helped build Australia and the pension changes in the budget aren't just reward for their hard work. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

A Corrimal pensioner says the federal budget will amount to "financial euthanasia" for some of Illawarra's most vulnerable.

Dave Cox, 67, reacted angrily to changes to the way the age pension will be indexed, and a new fee for essential GP visits.

From September 1, 2017, the age pension will be indexed to inflation, and no longer increased in line with average male earnings, which grow about 1.5 percentage points faster, annually.

Mr Cox and his wife Kay currently receive about $550-$600 a week and expect the shift will make it nearly impossible to live off the pension, which they say will no longer keep pace with rising everyday costs.

"We just eat very plainly, we don't drink, we don't gamble, we don't smoke and we can just survive on the pension as it is now," Mr Cox said.

"You can't base a pension and the actual cost of living on CPI. The basic wage is the true reflection of how much costs have gone up.

"We will fall further and further behind. It's the closest thing I've ever seen to financial euthanasia of pensioners doing it tough right now ... we're like refugees in our own country."

Battling: Dave and Kay Cox of Corrimal say they helped build Australia and the pension changes in the budget aren't just reward for their hard work. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Battling: Dave and Kay Cox of Corrimal say they helped build Australia and the pension changes in the budget aren't just reward for their hard work. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

During their working lives, Mrs Cox worked as a school librarian and Mr Cox was in the telecommunications industry.

He worked for Telstra, ran his own business then became a communications teacher at TAFE.

As retirement neared, the couple ploughed all their money into paying off their house and fitting it out with money-saving solar inclusions.

They sold their car to avoid running costs, and are now reliant on the bus. Insurance - on their house, and private health cover - are their biggest money drains.

"I worked ever since I left school," Mr Cox said.

"We are the people who have already done our hard yards. We built Australia, we got it to where it is, and the only reward we get is to be treated like third-class citizens. We're not even second class any more."

Mr Cox expects pensioners who rent their homes to be especially hard hit by the incoming changes.

A new $7 charge for visiting the GP, applicable for the first 10 visits, would also hurt.

"Seven dollars is a lot of money for a pensioner," he said.

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Battling: Dave and Kay Cox of Corrimal say they helped build Australia and the pension changes in the budget aren't just reward for their hard work. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Battling: Dave and Kay Cox of Corrimal say they helped build Australia and the pension changes in the budget aren't just reward for their hard work. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

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