Debnam's gift to seniors needs refinement
22 November 2005
The Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS) has called on NSW Opposition Leader, Peter Debnam to better target his $37 million NSW Seniors Concession Allowance, announced yesterday.

"The $300 per year payment to self funded retirees will be available to holders of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card," said NCOSS Director, Gary Moore

"This will include single older people earning up to $50,000 per year on their superannuation or investments and couples earning around $80,000 per year."

"We believe that the NSW Coalition's initiative is a positive step, but very poorly targeted."

"It should be directed at those self funded retirees whose incomes are genuinely modest. "

"This means older people earning up to $30,000 per year and much closer to the levels of the full aged pension."

"The NSW Coalition could achieve this much fairer result if it restricted its Seniors Concession Allowance to those self funded retirees who are eligible for the general Commonwealth Health Care Card."

"NCOSS also suggests that the NSW Coalition should examine much more closely its approach to providing concessions to low and modest income households in NSW."

"There are tens of thousands of families and single people in NSW, who are surviving on unemployment payments or who are in part time work and welfare or in the lowest paid part time and casual jobs."

"They desperately need the types of concessions for energy and water bills, car registrations, insurances and the like that Peter Debnam is offering self funded retirees."

"Their numbers may well swell over the next few years if the Howard Government's welfare to work and industrial relations reforms are implemented in their current form."

"Good public policy on concessions should aim to improve equity and consistency across the most disadvantaged population groups whilst delivering the benefits in the most efficient manner."

"In the run up to the March 2007 State election, this is a challenge that the NSW Coalition must rise to if it is to be regarded as a credible alternative Government."