Labor is calling on the Berejiklian Government to consider the needs of seniors and non-English speaking people who are missing out on access to government services.
Labor Shadow Minister for Better Public Services, Sophie Cotsis said she had met many older Australians from multicultural backgrounds, as well as seniors, who had no access to online services and were missing out on rebates and other essential information and support. She gave the example of the Liberal-National Government last month pocketing about $29 million of unclaimed taxpayer green slip rebates after spending $1.9 million advertising the refunds.
“This Liberals and Nationals’ obsession with digitizing and downscaling is not just about getting rid of public servants, scrapping off-shored services run by community groups and scrimping on hospitals and water infrastructure,” Ms Cotsis said.
“Hard working migrants and the elderly are being deprived of equal access to government services that have been brought online.”
“If you don’t speak English and are not up to speed with modern technology, you miss out.”
Labor Shadow Minister for Seniors, Jo Haylen said there were serious systemic issues, particularly for pensioners.
“Across NSW many are unaware of their entitlements, whether it is subsidies and rebates or other public services,” she said.
“Many pensioners, particularly from multicultural backgrounds, struggle with accessing a computer and online content.
“Pensioners from multicultural backgrounds are some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”
“Not only do they struggle on a meagre weekly income, but many cannot speak proficient English.”
“They face real challenges in communicating their problems and concerns. The expectation that you can just ‘go digital’ severely disenfranchises these people even further.”