Labor is warning that the Nationals are disadvantaging seniors in rural and regional NSW already hit by drought and fires, after delaying the Regional Seniors Travel Card until February. They had promised during the election that it would be available by now.
The delayed Regional Seniors Travel Card is supposed to give seniors living in rural and regional NSW a $250 discount on fuel and taxis and pre-booked TrainLink regional train and coach services.
Labor Shadow Minister for Seniors, Jo Haylen said “Some people in rural and regional NSW are struggling with fires, with so many services displaced seniors in particular will find it a challenge to do things like get to and from doctor appointments or doing groceries.”
“The lack of information and delay to the travel card is just another way the Nationals are dragging their feet, when they should be providing vital support and services to seniors in drought and fire affected communities.”
In the first release of information about the travel card since the election, the Nationals have admitted they will force seniors online to apply for the Regional Seniors Travel Card.
“We know in some parts of NSW power lines, mobile towers were damaged. Seniors living in fire-affected areas may only have limited access to internet and may struggle to apply for the card.”
“If the Nationals were serious about helping seniors in rural and regional NSW they could just save everyone the hassle and post the card to every eligible senior in the State.”
NSW Labor Shadow Minister for Better Public Services, Sophie Cotsis said: “If you’re not up to speed with modern technology, you miss out. Our seniors deserve better.”
“It means that the elderly who have made the bush their home are deprived of equal access to government services. That’s not the way things should be.”
“Given the devastation of the fires in regional NSW, I think the government needs to have a one stop shop in drought and fire-affected communities to make sure people who need support, are receiving support.”
“Making people jump through hoops in order to apply for government support, after these fires have left people to pick up the pieces of their lives is a callous approach by this government, when they could very easily streamline the process,” Ms Cotsis concluded.
The delay to the card’s rollout follows news that 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 Nationals properly budget for the program.