Flexing the grey muscle
Fighting for the rights of pensioners, superannuants and other people on fixed incomes is the key role of the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA), the RTA’s November meeting heard. CPSA administration officer Nikki Christensen said her organisation was not affiliated to a political party and had acted like a union since its 1931 formation. It received a UN award for media coverage of its campaign for quality, available aged care and continues to fight for better housing and pensions. The RTA is an affiliate member and individual memberships cost $12 a year.
Nikki reported that Gregory and Carr are providing members with $2990 funerals in their own chapels. She said escalating funeral costs and the need for larger print on food packaging had been two issues raised at the CPSA’s recent annual general meeting.
Waiting for Corman
The retiree umbrella group, ACPSRO, is holding fire on fairer pension indexation until it sees which way the new federal government jumps but is aware of Finance Minister Matthias Corman’s statement that funding will be hard to find. Margaret De La Garde reported that National Seniors has 200,000 members for whom fairer indexation is an important issue.
Clinic gets the chop
The Australian Government will slash half a million dollars in funding from the ground-breaking medical clinic on the Thai-Myanmar border that earned founder Dr Cynthia Maung the 2013 Sydney Peace Prize. The clinic treats 150,000 people a year and trains local and international medics. Since opening in 1989 it has treated people affected by malaria, pneumonia and land mine explosions. Withdrawal of AusAID support for Dr Maung’s work is part of the Abbott Government’s move to cut $4.5 billion from overseas aid. The RTA deplores the move and is urging the Government to continue supporting a clinic that delivers vital services to an impoverished population.
Are we being Robbed?
Members expressed concern over Trade Minister Andrew Robb’s letter about the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPPA). He believes it will strengthen job creation in the Pacific region. The negotiations conclude soon and the Sydney Morning Herald said implications for health care, the environment and cigarette packaging would be assessed before signing and that exceptions could be included. The RTA noted that consultation with ‘interested parties’ took place in Sydney during October and will ask Mr Robb whether any trade unions, or AFTINet, had been invited.
Expelling refugee students ‘stupid’
Australia’s move to boot 18-year-old refugees out of school has been labelled stupidly short-sighted by members. The RTA will write to the Immigration Minister protesting his department’s decision to force students on temporary visas to quit school on turning 18. The RTA will ask the NSW Education Department to join it in taking up the issue.
The RTA will also write to the NSW Premier protesting the axing of funding for the Park and Village Service and Older Australian Tenants Service, and to the Prime Minister and Treasurer about moves to cut 1400 CSIRO staff. Members also expressed concern about proposed fee increases for TAFE creative arts courses that point to further reductions, and likely privatisation, of technical and further education.
Federation is going to train eight people from the Combined Retired Union Members Association (CRUMA) in computer skills in 2014. CRUMA is buying a laptop and there are plans for an upgrade of its website at http://www.cruma.org.au.
Viable Retired Associations are now operating in Wagga Wagga and Armidale, our annual meeting heard. The Executive report acknowledged members who had passed away and recorded substantial donations to the Federation, Federation Library, Stewart House, APHEDA, Jessie Street National Women’s Library, Oxfam and other charities nominated by our invited speakers. The Association has sent 76 letters to federal and state governments and others on a range issues and received a number of interesting replies. It is hoped that Marie and Ken Muir will receive life memberships at the Association’s February meeting.
Elected officers of the NSW RTA are: President Margaret De La Garde; Secretary Allan West; Treasurer Ray McDonald; Hospitality/catering Barbara McGregor; Speakers/blog manager Terry Jones; Assistant Secretary Max Prince; Vice Presidents – May Steilberg, Shirley Bains, Ron Denham and Geoff Dyer. Other committee members are Ian Massingham, Carol Price, Helen Duffy, Chrys Marshall and Don Morrison. The auditors are Winifred and Kevin Wilcox. Therese Medhurst is the octogenarian cake coordinator.
Allan West is the Secretary, NSW Retired Teachers Association and can be contacted on (02) 9484 5693. The RTA blogsite is www.rtansw.blogspot.com.