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Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

NSW seniors miss out on hundreds of $’s

I am urging the New South Wales Minister for Community Services, Faye Lo Po’, to follow the example of her South Australian counterpart, Dean Brown, and join with the Commonwealth to ensure that NSW Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) holders gain access to concessional rates for core services.

The weekend’s announcement by the South Australian Government that they have reached an agreement with the Commonwealth on concessions is great news for thousands of seniors in that state. The agreement will deliver vital concessions to South Australian holders of the CSHC.

These concessions include reduced council rates, cheaper water and sewerage utilities, and savings on electricity and motor vehicle registrations. It is expected that CSHC holders in South Australia will benefit by up to $500 per year (in after tax terms).

An offer to negotiate a similar agreement remains on the table with NSW.

Officials have been advised that NSW does not wish to share costs but the offer remains.

I would strongly encourage Minister Lo Po’ to come to the party so that NSW CSHC holders can enjoy concessional benefits.

The agreement with South Australia is part of the Howard Government’s commitment to older Australians made last year. The initiative recognises the important role that older Australians have played in the development of this country.

This CSHC concession offer, which the South Australian Government has accepted, is on the table for all other states. I would encourage all the other state ministers to think positively about working with the Commonwealth to do the right thing by the seniors in their state.