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NT seniors outraged over cutbacks

29 Mar 2016

NT Government Assessment of the current Seniors Concession Scheme is moving at a glacial pace

NT Government Assessment of the current Seniors Concession Scheme is moving at a glacial pace

COTA NT has been flooded with calls from seniors supporting demands for the Seniors Concessions Scheme to be reinstated to the pre-May 2014 Budget status. These seniors are angry and frustrated their eligibility for concessions was summarily taken away by Treasurer Dave Tollner without any warning or consultation.

Many seniors approaching retirement have now learned that they are no longer eligible for concessions unless they are Centrelink eligible. This disenfranchisement in one fell swoop took Territory seniors from one of the most generous concession schemes to now arguably Australia’s meanest. While the Scheme continues to provide concessions for aged, disability and single parent pensioners and carers there is no recognition or support for seniors who do not meet Centrelink assessment.

Seniors are adamant that their voices are heard and importantly want action on this important issue. Many seniors now stay on in the Territory to provide support for their extended families. However, loss of concessions clearly impacts on their future and perhaps their ability to continue to stay in the Territory given the unique cost structures here. It should not go without saying that these people are the generation who have work hard and contributed greatly to the Territory community economy and social fabric.

Seniors are also saying that with the exposure of alleged rorts in the seniors travel scheme there should now be sufficient savings to re-instate seniors’ concessions. COTA NT has been lobbying hard along with other like-minded senior’s organisations through the Ministerial Advisory Council to have the present Concession Scheme reviewed. A submission has been referred to the Department of Health and the Department of Treasury and Finance. This assessment is however moving at glacial pace.

COTA NT has accepted the clear message from its members and supporters – we will continue to pursue the senior’s concessions issue by what-ever means necessary to secure a successful outcome – one which adequately recognises the valuable contribution of our seniors to the Territory community and economy.

 

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