Qld budget treats seniors like a political football

The Queensland Government has insulted the state’s seniors in today’s budget by planning to slash funding to a range of concessions, National Seniors Australia said.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls today handed down Queensland’s 2014/15 budget, blaming a $50 million federal funding cutback (only 15% of total concession funding) for reductions across seven state-based concessions; electricity, council rates, water, gas, vehicle registration, bus and rail transport.

But the scope of the cutbacks will not be known until 1 October, leaving many of the state’s most vulnerable to worry how they will pay for their basic needs once the reduced concessions start to bite, National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill said.

“This budget is disrespectful to older Queenslanders and shows a complete lack of understanding about what means to live on a fixed income,” he said.

“Furthermore, it is insulting to then try and make older Queenslanders a political football between Brisbane and Canberra.

“These cuts will impose financial hardship on the oldest and most vulnerable who will go without to make ends meet.

“It says much about the priorities of the Newman Government that they are willing to provide additional funding toward V8 Supercars and Gold Coast theme parks at the expense of older Queenslanders.”

National Seniors’ research has shown that around 600,000 Queensland voters are aged 65 and over and that the proposed cuts will leave seniors hundreds of dollars out of pocket on top of recent hikes in utility costs.

“A single person receiving the full age pension of $842.80 a fortnight amounting to a little over $21,000 per annum is living frugally and today’s state budget only makes life more difficult,” O’Neill said.

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