COTA NT – July 2016: Immediate and Urgent Review of the Seniors Concession Scheme in the Northern Territory
COTA NT’s petition called on the Northern Territory Government to review the Territory’s Seniors Concession Scheme after seniors were disenfranchised by the 2014 Budget.
To: The Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Request: The Northern Territory Government launch an immediate and urgent review of the Seniors Concession Scheme in order to redress inequities and unfairness inherent in the Scheme with a view to reinstating concessions for seniors throughout the Territory disenfranchised by the May 2014 Budget decision.
Reason: There are over 55,970 seniors residing in the Northern Territory, and the current population of 16,411 seniors over 65 years and over is set to more than double by 2041. Before 2014, all Territory male residents over 65 years and Territory female residents over 60 years were eligible for the Seniors Concession Scheme. In the May 2014 Budget, eligibility restrictions for the Scheme were announced without warning or consultation, meaning that concessions were restricted to holders of Pensioner Concession and Commonwealth Seniors Health Cards only. Effectively, there is no recognition or financial support for any Territory senior who does not meet the criteria of a Centrelink assessment.
- Over 6,500 signatures were collected, and an online Have your Say received 4,000 responses.
- 22 November 2016 – Presentation to 13th Assembly of the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory https://parliament.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/387933/Petition-3-Seeking-Review-of-the-Seniors-Concession-Scheme.pdf
- The Northern Territory Government (NTG) announced that it would conduct a review into the Northern Territory Pensioner Carer Concession Scheme (NTPCCS) in early 2017.
- Encouraged members and community to actively contribute to consultation process.
- Following frustration at the way the review was being handled, an additional petition was launched by seniors’ groups including COTA NT, AIR, National Seniors and Palmerston and Rural Seniors. The review started in late July 2017.
- COTA NT prepared a submission on the scheme and was part of consultation.
- The NTPCCS was replaced by the NT Concessions Scheme and Seniors Recognition Schemes in 1 July 2018.
“…the revamped NT Concessions Scheme, the most generous scheme of its kind in Australia. The NT Government has increased the budget by 15% and it is the most money
the scheme has seen from any Government.” Sue Shearer, COTA NT CEO, Seniors Voice 14 November 2017
- The NT Concession Scheme provides concessions on a range of essential goods and services to help with living expenses for those who meet residency requirements and who receive an eligible Centrelink or a Veterans’ Affairs benefit.
- The NT Seniors Recognition Scheme (NTSRS) for NT residents aged 65 or over recognises the valuable contribution seniors make to the Territory by providing an annual payment of $500 to members. The NTSRS is not means-tested. The $500 payment is provided through a prepaid card and issued to eligible members from July each year.