By the President of FGFP Victoria (Joe Montero)
On 23 November, Fair Go For Pensioners held its Annual General Meeting (AGM). This year had brought significant challenges, with the ongoing impact of Covid and lockdowns. As a group, older people are more vulnerable than most of the rest of the population.
Despite the difficulty, Progress has been achieved. Participation in our AGM was bigger than and more enthusiastic than many expected.
Fair Go For Pensioners is still around. A strategy and Action Plan has been developed and its first phase largely applied.
Age Pensioners and others depending on Centrelink payments, as well as the growing underemployed and underpaid, are facing the brunt of the rising cost of living. The future looks bleak unless people stand up against it. This is where Fair Go For Pensioners comes in. Our role is to be a centre of gravity, bringing people together to act and are effective.
The AGM gave recognition to the need to build a movement demanding and winning substantial improvements. The first part of the new year will concentrate on building organisational and political capacity, to build an alliance around the spearhead of a campaign to raise the Age Pension above the poverty line and maintain its growth, relative to real adult wages and the cost of living.
An investigation has shown that successive governments have robbed age pensioners by manipulating the current process. Thousands of dollars per capita have been taken every year.
The campaign has already been initiated by a Webinar, also involved Living Incomes For Everyone (LIFE) and the Retired Unionists Network (RUN). We are asking everyone who can to get involved in building the alliance and the formation of action groups.
While the Age Pension is the focus at this point of our strategy, the AGM approved the need to work towards acting on the cost of housing, health services, energy costs, and the growing problem of social isolation.
Agreement was reached on the need to improve communication, develop further our online presence, and expand the leadership team. We want to strengthen ties with affiliates and win over new ones. We want to grow our individual members. The purpose is to help break down the isolation of many activists into their own groups. Much more can be achieved if we act together. The outcome depends on how many feet we can get on the ground.