The NSW Government has failed to give certainty to older people, the State Budget shows, with seniors still waiting on the appointment of a permanent Minister, a new Ageing Strategy and seniors groups still unsure as to whether they’ll be funded into the future.
COVID-19 has been devastating for older people across NSW, with all COVID-related deaths in people over the age of 50. The pandemic has also exacerbated social isolation, mental health and other concerns.
The current Ageing Strategy expires this year and with the Parliamentary year coming to an end this week, the Government has yet to approve a new one or clarify what programs, services and organisations will be funded into the future.
Stakeholders have also raised concerns that the smaller commitment towards building new public housing - compared to Victoria - will do little to dent the surge in housing insecurity for older people.
Programs such as the “Out and About” voucher could exclude older people who don’t have access to digital technology.
The Government’s aged care training centre is also not fully-funded, and mentions only the development of a business case.
“It’s been 14 months since we had a permanent Minister for Seniors in this State and it shows in this Budget,” said Shadow Minister for Seniors and Volunteers Jo Haylen.
“What older people need now is certainty that the services and organisations they rely on will be properly funded, and the certainty that someone at the Cabinet table is in their corner."
“We’re in November and the Government still has not released its Ageing Strategy or committed any details on how older people will be supported through this pandemic and into the future.
“This Budget shows no-one is looking out for older people in this Government.”