Northern Territory Government begins public consultation on all aspects of the NT Pensioner and Carer Concession Scheme
10 Jul 2017
The Northern Territory Government has begun public consultation on all aspects of the NT Pensioner and Carer Concession Scheme. The concession scheme provides members with financial subsidies on a range of goods and services to assist with the cost of living. These subsidies, by way of concessions, are uncapped.
It costs the government more than $30 million a year in concessions and administration costs, which is seen as an important investment in NT seniors and vulnerable pensioners. However the scheme is open to exploitation, is complex and expensive to manage and is unfair to many.
The government has therefore committed to reviewing the scheme to make it fairer, more flexible, more efficient to manage and sustainable over the long term. It particularly intends to provide all Territory seniors 65 and over who are currently not eligible for concessions, with a minimum of $700 in concessions every two years. Territory Families, which administers the scheme, has produced a discussion paper outlining the issues currently facing the scheme – how it is unfair, the costs of managing it and the range of services it covers.
PUBLIC FORUMS: view page, haveyoursay.nt.gov.au/concessions/key_dates
COTA NT SUPPORTS MINISTER WAKEFIELD’S DECISION
Minister for Territory Families, the Hon. Dale Wakefield, MLA has listened to the concerns of Senior Territorians and COTA NT, the peak body representing seniors throughout the Northern Territory by allowing all aspects of the NT Pensioner and Carer Concession Scheme to be open to consultation.
CEO of COTA NT, Sue Shearer states, “The areas of concern to seniors were the debit card process, coupled with the re-applying in 2018 for the scheme plus the uncertainty of eligibility with the grandfathering.”
We have had numerous phone calls from pensioners who are very upset that they would be worse off with what was proposed in the Fact Sheet that has been circulated”.
We are obviously extremely pleased with Minister Wakefield’s decision to open up the consultation process completely and with the previous decisions mentioned in the Fact Sheet now up for consultation.”
COTA NT believes that while parts of the seniors’ scheme obviously were taken advantage of, overall it achieved its purpose for all seniors by assisting in alleviating and easing the cost of living. However, we do believe that there should be a qualifying period of either two (2) to five (5) years and that a cap on electricity and water should be considered.”
For further information please contact: Sue Shearer, CEO, Council of the Ageing NT on 0490074220