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COTA NT vows to fight cuts to seniors concessions

22 Mar 2016

Seniors are a valuable part of Territory life supporting the economy, community and family

Seniors are a valuable part of Territory life supporting the economy, community and family

COTA NT watches with despair as frustrated and angry seniors are forced to write to the newspapers to vent their frustrations with the inequitable and unfair concession scheme which now delivers concessions only to Pensioners and others who are successfully Centrelink-assessed. Previously these benefits were previously available a wide range of deserving seniors.

Remember that with a stroke of Treasurer David Tollner’s pen many hundreds of seniors were, without notice, summarily disenfranchised from the existing concession scheme. COTA NT still receives calls from distraught people who do not realise that they are no longer eligible for concessions for travel, rates, glasses and MVR charges – and this number does not include all of those approaching retirement who mistakenly have an expectation of being eligible for seniors’ concessions.

We should not forget that the Concession Scheme was originally introduced as an incentive to keep seniors in the Territory. All up the total concessions package is only a measly amount, but it did ease the load on seniors wishing to continue living on in the Territory after retirement. Many of these seniors as grandparents now look after their grandchildren and provide comfort and support to their extended families.

These seniors are the people who have worked hard, contributed to the local economy and community over many years and made this Territory the great place it is today to live work and play. Surely it is not too much to ask for a small element of recognition for these seniors through re-instating the seniors’ concession scheme to the status it was before the 2014 Budget slashes.

Not merely being an observer to all of this COTA NT has been lobbying hard through the Ministerial Advisory Council to have the Concession Scheme reviewed – to eliminate unfairness and inequitable processes and practices. Success to the first stage has been achieved with the Minister for Seniors Peter Styles advising that the Ministerial Advisory Council – Senior Territorians Submission on NT Seniors Concessions has been referred to the Department of Health – as administrators of the NTPCCS and the Department of Treasury and Finance. We must now await the deliberations of bureaucrats – but in the interest of all seniors we will never let this matter rest!

 

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