National Seniors has welcomed the ACT government's budget commitment to increase access for seniors to public transport.
The government will continue to offer free off-peak travel on bus services for seniors and concession card holders. It will also conduct a six-month trial in the inner north of flexible bus services for people with mobility impairment.
National Seniors’ ACT Policy Advisory Group member Dr Bill Donovan said the lobby group for over 50s was a strong advocate for better access to public transport.
“This was a key recommendation in our budget submission, and we’re pleased to see the government make an ongoing commitment to it,” Dr Donovan said.
The government’s provision of $17.3 million to renovate existing facilities at Canberra Hospital, including upgrades of the acute aged care and oncology wards to deliver better patient care, was also welcomed.
However, Dr Donovan said that while seniors’ concessions were retained, their value was not keeping pace with increases in the cost of living.
“Rates are up 7 per cent, services such as gas, electricity and water have risen more than 5 per cent, and many other costs are also rising,” Dr Donovan said.
“But the value of concessions has only increased by CPI, which is around 2 per cent.
“This is making it extremely hard for seniors, who are on fixed incomes, to make ends meet.”
Dr Donovan said National Seniors were pleased that budget measures had been introduced to improve roads, footpaths and green spaces in the ACT.