Cuts concern seniors

As announced on May 14, $199 million of concessions for seniors were axed.

The Cost of Living Allowance, which provides a rebate on electricity charges, has been renamed as an Energy Assistance Payment and will be means-tested from July 1.

The eligibility age for WA Seniors Card holders will rise to 61 from July 1, and again every two years to 65 by 2023-24.

From 2016-17, the 50 per cent rebate for local government rates and water charges will be capped at $550 and $600 respectively.

The Safety and Security Rebate, which encouraged purchase of personal safety alarms, has been discontinued.

Seniors and Volunteering Minister Tony Simpson said with WA�s population of seniors expected to grow from 458,000 to 865,000 in 20 years, the current State Government expenditure on concessions for seniors was not sustainable.

�The government values the contribution of seniors to WA and is committed to supporting their active participation in the community,� he said.

�With the population of seniors continuing to grow, it is vital we ensure we can provide support to those seniors who have the greatest need.�

Public transport for seniors � currently free on weekdays between 9am and 3.30pm and anytime on weekends and public holidays � will be extended to include after 7pm every night and before 6am each weekday morning.

Seniors will also get a discount on the WA photo ID card for identification purposes from 2016-17.

As part of the 2016-17 Budget process, the government will consider introducing a downsizing grant for seniors looking to move into smaller, fit-for-purpose accommodation.

Opposition leader Mark McGowan said seniors had been let down by the government and were already struggling to cope with household bills.

�Seniors who�ve done the hard yards as taxpayers for many years deserve a happy and healthy life in retirement,� he said.

Treasurer Mike Nahan said WA�s seniors� concessions and subsidies were �still the most generous in the nation by a long shot�.