State Member for Wallsend, Ms Sonia Hornery MP, has called on the Regional Transport Minister to show some love for residents in the Newcastle Local Government Area, veterans, disability pensioners and carers this Valentine’s Day, after reports that they have all been excluded from the Regional Seniors Travel Card program.
Despite initial information from the Minister’s own office, the program has now been restricted and now only seniors in receipt of the Aged Pension are able to apply. This has left some of the most vulnerable seniors in our community without access to the $250 scheme.
It has also been revealed that DVA Gold card holders are excluded from the program, including former prisoners of war, World War 2 veterans and permanently disabled veterans.
When the program was rolled out two weeks ago, the Wallsend electorate was split with residents in the Lake Macquarie Local Government area deemed eligible, but residents in the Newcastle LGA denied access to the card as they were classified as metropolitan, despite some living in the same postcode, suburb and street.
Quotes attributable to Member for Wallsend, Sonia Hornery
“Valentine’s Day is traditionally a day where love is on display, but sections of my community certainly aren’t feeling any love from this Government.”
“Last week it was Newcastle residents who were left out, today it is veterans, seniors with a disability and their carers who are being turned away from the Regional Seniors Travel Card program.”
“Seniors with a disability face extraordinary barriers to getting around, especially in areas with limited public transport options. This card would help alleviate some of the additional costs they face with using transport.”
“It’s frankly disgusting that the Government would leave these sections of our community behind.”
“The Minister should show our community some love this Valentine’s Day. This decision should be reversed and the Government must ensure veterans, seniors with a disability and senior carers are all included in the program.”