Better late than never seems to be the motto of the NSW Government, according to Maitland state MP Jenny Aitchison.
While Labor welcomed the modifications to the Regional Seniors Travel Card (RSTC), which will extend the program for an additional two years and expand it to include those entitled for the Age Pension, the changes were announced mid-2021.
In the first 24 months of the trial, those who were receiving a Disability Support Pension or Carer’s Payment from Services Australia were not eligible to participate.
The NSW Government also initially excluded recipients of Department of Veterans’ Affairs aged pensions, service pensions and disability pensions provided under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986, and war widow(er)s from the pilot, only including them after intense lobbying by the NSW Labor Opposition.
Now, following the lengthy delays, the RSTC will finally be accessible for local residents, much to the delight of Ms Aitchison.
“This is a win for the many regional seniors with disabilities and their carers who had previously missed out on receiving support during the first two years of the trial,” the Shadow Minister for Regional Transport and Roads said.
“There was a great deal of confusion around the initial Regional Seniors Travel Card trial when it was first rolled out.
“While the NSW Nationals made much fanfare of their 2019 election commitment, it’s taken three years to finally get to a fully-inclusive program that recognises all seniors receiving pensions through Services Australia or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
“NSW Labor members lobbied the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads and advocated strongly on behalf of people with disabilities and their carers, demanding they be included.
“I’m very pleased the NSW Government has finally recognised the thousands of seniors on a Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment who face daily challenges living in regional NSW.
“It’s a shame it took them so long.
“People in regions are sick of getting half-baked promises from the Nationals.
“Only NSW Labor will stand up for all seniors in our regions.”
To apply for a RSTC or for further information phone 13 77 88 or visit www.service.nsw.gov.au
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