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Gold Opal fares a bright spot in otherwise dull NSW budget

The New South Wales budget has held public transport fares at $2.50 but added little to help older people cope with ever-increasing living costs, National Seniors Australia says.

The cost of Gold Opal travel for pensioners and Seniors Card holders will stay at $2.50 for the 2017-18 financial year.

“This is good news but we can only hope the government restricts fare increases in the future,” National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said.

WA concessions change to aid budget repair

The Western Australian Government has announced increases to household fees and charges, including seniors’ concessions, to help the state with ‘budget repair’.

Consumers will be slugged an average of 7.7 per cent, which represents a basket of household fees and charges.

For seniors' households with Commonwealth concessions cards, the government will continue to provide the 50 per cent rebates for water service charges capped at $600 and local government rates capped at $750, and a 50 per cent rebate on the underground electricity connection charge.

SA budget has little joy for seniors

Seniors say the South Australian budget is a mixed bag that contains little cause for joy.

The budget papers revealed a total allocation of $11.4 million to “place South Australia at the forefront of the Ageing Well sector”.

The funding is intended to drive innovation and growth in the emerging sector, and will cover the establishment of a coordinating body to connect people with education, training, research, networks, business development and international pathways to the market.

Scammers lure the unwary with phishing bait

Consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), is warning older people to beware of ‘phishing’ scams that con people out of their personal information and money.

The scammers pretend to be from well-known businesses and government departments and frequently target those aged over 65.

So far in 2017, the ACCC’s Scamwatch has received more than 11,000 reports of this scam and nearly $260,000 lost.

Council set up to oversee medical cannabis

A peak industry body has been set up to oversee production, supply and distribution standards for medical cannabis products.

The Medical Cannabis Council includes health experts, researchers, and medical cannabis producers and manufacturers.

CEO of Epilepsy Action Australia and board member of the Medical Cannabis Council, Carol Ireland, said early research indicated medical cannabis could treat areas of epilepsy where conventional medicine had been largely ineffective.

Postcodes determine stroke treatment

Your postcode may determine your likelihood of suffering a stroke and how well you recover from it.

The Stroke Foundation’s report No Postcode Untouched: Stroke in Australia 2017 shows 12 of the country’s top 20 hotspots for stroke incidence are in regional Australia, where people are 19 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke than those living in metropolitan areas.

Seniors welcome Queensland budget social housing commitment

National Seniors has welcomed the Queensland Government’s budget commitment this week to invest in new social housing.

The Chair of National Seniors’ Queensland Policy Advisory Group, Vera Somerwil, said the government’s allocation of $1.8 billion over 10 years to build more than 5,500 social and affordable homes, along with a boost to electricity concessions, would go some way towards helping older Queenslanders cope with the rising cost of living.

ACT seniors won’t be left in the cold

Seniors in the ACT don’t need to shiver in silence this winter – even if they have trouble paying their power bills.

Utility provider ActewAGL has promised not to cut off supply, National Seniors’ ACT Policy Advisory Group member Dr Bill Donovan said.

ActewAGL last week hiked electricity and gas prices by hundreds of dollars a year - just one day after the ACT government announced rates rises of up to 33 per cent.

Raising awareness of elder abuse

A new report has made 43 recommendations for legal reform to help safeguard older Australians from abuse and neglect.

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) report Elder Abuse — A National Legal Response calls for a number of changes.

These include improved responses to elder abuse in residential aged care; better employment screening of care workers; and a requirement for banks and financial institutions to protect vulnerable customers from abuse.

Preparing for the aged care ‘silver tsunami’

A new report warns Australia is under-prepared for an imminent and radical change to the way the Federal Government funds residential aged care services.

Researchers from the Institute for Health and Ageing at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) say older Australians receiving Commonwealth assistance will be increasingly empowered to make decisions about how they spent it, moving away from a historical funding system that allocated funding to aged care providers.

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