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COTA

Media Release

State Budget spares older people - for now

Yesterday's state budget spares many of South Australia's older people from the worst of the cuts - for now.

The budget retained important concessions in the coming year for council rates, transport, energy, and water and sewerage which were threatened by federal cuts for concessions.

It also exempted eligible pensioners and concession card holders from increases in the emergency services levy (ESL) on their principal place of residence.

"We congratulate the state government on quarantining some of the state's most disadvantaged and vulnerable people from what is without doubt a difficult budget," said COTA SA general manager Rosetta Rosa.

"We are pleased that in in the coming year that the state government has made up the $30 million shortfall of federal funding to maintain concessions on rates, utilities and transport.

"This gives age pensioners and card holders an important stay of hand over the next 12 months. But it is only 12 months.

"We encourage the state government to lobby the Commonwealth government over the next year to reverse its decision on funding concessions. Pensioners are already finding it hard to pay for basic services and these concessions are ‘make or break' for many."

While the exemption on ESL rises for pensioners and other low-income groups is welcome, COTA SA is concerned that renters and some low-income home owners are likely to feel the effect of the rise.

"We expect to see the ESL rise pushed down to renters who are often those on low incomes and cannot afford to buy their own homes," said Ms Rosa.

"Similarly, older people whose homes have increased in market value but who are cash poor are likely to be affected by this rise."

COTA SA welcomed other budget initiatives that delivered on the government's election commitments to older South Australians:

  • an advocacy support service for retirement village residents
  • funding for programs to help older workers get jobs and to promote the value of mature-age expertise
  • expanding the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme, which assists regional patients to access specialist services
  • stamp duty concessions for those aged over 60 to right size their homes by purchasing new, age-friendly homes.

Download a copy of the media release

Contact: Ms Rosetta Rosa, General Manager, 0409 853 604