Cost of living

Don’t axe Energy Supplement payments to new pensioners

National Seniors is calling on the Federal Government not to axe payment of the Energy Supplement to new welfare recipients from 20 September this year.

In a submission to a Senate Committee, National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said energy prices had continued to rise and seniors were among those hardest hit.

“National Seniors opposes the proposal within the draft bill to cease payment of the Energy Supplement for all new welfare recipients, including Age Pension recipients, from 20 September 2017,” Mr Henschke said.

NT seniors get free bus travel

Northern Territory seniors aged 60 and over can now travel free on public buses.

Acting Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Eva Lawler said free public transport for seniors came into effect on 1 July.

Free travel would also apply to all Australian Senior Card holders aged 60 and over on presentation of a valid state or territory seniors card, she said.

Consultations on the revised Pensioner Concession Scheme will also start this month and National Seniors will be participating. The new scheme begins on 1 January, 2018.

The costs and joys of pet ownership

Australians love their pets, with 62 per cent of households keeping an animal – one of the highest rates of ownership in the world, a new report has found.

Animal Medicines Australia’s Pet Ownership in Australia 2016 showed that 39 per cent of households surveyed owned dogs, 29 per cent cats, 15 per cent fish and 10 per cent birds.

They cost owners $12.2 billion in pet products and services in 2016, with dogs the most expensive animals costing an average $1,818 a year, and cats $1,339.

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.

Energy supplement cuts misguided, say seniors

National Seniors has rejected Federal Government moves to scuttle the energy supplement for new Age Pension recipients from September 20.

Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said the government’s plan to cut the supplement in a bid to save almost $1 billion over four years was misguided.

Full and part pensioners were consistently being targeted for savings when their incomes were among the lowest in the country.

Men call the shots on pay TV

More men than women make the decision about subscription or pay TV, a new survey has found.

Roy Morgan Research showed half of Australia’s married or de facto couples had at least one subscription or pay TV in their home and in only 50 per cent of these homes, the decisions about whether, when and which provider were made together. For the other 50 per cent, the decision was made by men 30 per cent of the time and 20 per cent women.

MS drug listed on PBS

People living with the most common type of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) now have access to cheaper medication with the listing of a drug on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

MS Australia patron and comedian, Tim Ferguson, said a recent study of people with MS showed that treatment with the drug ZINBRYTA could reduce the likelihood of their disease worsening over a 10-year period.

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