Shadow Minister for Seniors, Jo Haylen MP and State Member for Lismore, Janelle Saffin MP today met with seniors outraged by the Nationals failure to budget for 60 per cent of seniors living in regional NSW, who could miss out on the $250 Regional Seniors Travel Card due to poor budget planning by the Nationals.
According to State Budget and Parliamentary Budget Office figures, the Government has only budgeted for 40% of eligible seniors taking up the $250 rebate on transport and fuel, meaning 60% of seniors may miss out unless the government tops up the program.
If 100% of eligible seniors took up the scheme, the scheme would blow-out by $135 million over three years.
Labor Shadow Minister for Seniors, Jo Haylen said the Nationals’ bad budgeting means a $135 million black hole in the State Budget or eligible seniors missing out.
“The Nationals are more serious about election announcements than actually providing relief for seniors right here in the Northern Rivers.
“If the Nationals were serious about supporting seniors, why wouldn’t they just post these cards out to all seniors?
“With their craven pork-barrelling, the Nationals are leaving the NSW Government with potentially massive $135 million budget black hole.
“The Treasurer is going to spend the next three years hoping 60% of seniors in the Northern Rivers no interest in claiming $250 of free money.
“We’ve had no details about how the card will work and this is shaping up as another expensive Nationals thought bubble.”
State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said the seniors' travel card delays were unacceptable, particularly when many eligible seniors on the Northern Rivers already were finding it hard to make ends meet.
“I'm starting to see a pattern with the Nationals; they make big-spending election commitments to win votes, get back into government and then go slow on delivering the goods,” Ms Saffin said.
“Many seniors justifiably could feel angry because the year is almost out and they are still waiting on these cards.”