State Budget value to older people is in the detail

The value is in the detail of this year's State Budget, according to the Council of The Ageing SA (COTA SA), which has commended the commitment to allow for job opportunities for mature workers who want to stay in the workforce and the development of a State healthy ageing strategy.

"Both are very important to our campaign to re-frame ageing and to reclaim the inherent value in our longer, healthier lives," according to COTA SA Chief Executive, Jane Mussared.

Ms Mussared also highlighted the previously announced cost of living concession payment as a win for the State's older people.

COTA SA invited businesses to respond to the challenge to invest in SA by employing older people and gearing their businesses to better serve older people.

"We are especially pleased about the tax and investment measures that will help small business owners in SA, one-third of whom are older people," Ms Mussared said.

COTA SA congratulated the State Government again on its decision to pay pensioners, low-income earners and self-funded retirees holding a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card up to $200 per year under a new cost of living concession.

"While this announcement was made some time ago, it is an important part of this State Budget and we welcome its extension to a larger number of people on low incomes and the flexibility it provides for people to allocate the funds according to their own priorities."

COTA SA also drew attention to some smaller allocations in the Budget that will benefit older people, including:
  • $16 million for public transport amenity and security upgrades
  • $25 million to renew social housing stock
  • $4.3 million to improve some regional arts centres
  • The abolition of the River Murray levy saving households $40 a year.

However Ms Mussared expressed her disappointment that the centrepiece of the COTA SA's budget submission, a Centre for Excellence in Ageing, was not included in the State Budget as one of the key infrastructure, innovation and inbound investment options.

"We think there is a limited window to grab leadership in this area," Ms Mussared said. "We will keep talking with the State Government and others about how we might achieve it. With almost a third of our State population aged 50 years or over, we will continue to challenge the State Government to invest in our ageing as an asset."

Ms Mussared said as a representative of the SA's growing number of older people, COTA SA would continue to encourage the State Government to invest in the potential to lead a new narrative about growing older including through a Centre for Excellence in Ageing.

Michelle Daw, 0427 430 845 michelle@communikate.net.au

COTA SA is the peak body promoting the rights, needs and interests of older South Australians.

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