Veterans are again being left on the side of the road by the Nationals, with reports they will be forced to wait up to three months before they can apply for the Regional Seniors Travel Card.
The Nationals had initially excluded pension-aged veterans collecting a Service Pension and recipients of a War Widow Pension through the Department of Veterans Affairs, but reversed that decision following concerted criticism. Seniors on a Disability Support Pension and carers remain excluded from the scheme.
“The Nationals continue make a dog’s breakfast of this program,” added Jo Haylen, Shadow Minister for Seniors and Cost of Living, “These are people who have served our country with distinction. They deserve better than being forced to the back of the queue because the Nationals can’t work a website.”
“This is not the Regional Seniors Travel Card they promised and even their own band aid solutions are slow and continue to leave vulnerable veterans waiting for the money they were promised.”
“This is another slap in the face for veterans. If you say you are going to expand the eligibility for the scheme, do it as quickly as possible and don’t leave people hanging,” said Greg Warren, Shadow Minister for Veterans.
Sheldon Maher AOM, President & Senior Advocate Vietnam Veterans Association Far North Coast, has written to local members demanding that the Government act immediately and set up a manual system so that veterans and war widowers can apply now, and not wait three months.
In his letter, Mr Maher says, “The exclusion for this group for the grant of the $250 NSW State Government Seniors Travel Card deeply upset and disappointed a group of Australians who served their Nation at the time of need and the large majority are suffering from the effects of their active war service.”
“Veterans deserve better than this.”
Janelle Saffin MP, Member for Lismore, agreed with Mr Maher, adding that “Veterans and war widows on the North Coast are again being ignored by the Nationals.
“These vulnerable seniors were first told during the election that they were eligible for the card, then that they weren‘t, then told they could apply, and are now they’re being told to wait another three months.
“It’s disgraceful. Minister, get this done.”