COST OF LIVING HELP FOR OLDER AUSTRALIANS IN WIDE BAY

More older Australians in Wide Bay will have access to cheaper healthcare and medications under changes to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, easing cost of living pressures for 9,600 people in Queensland – including self-funded retirees.

Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O’Brien welcomed a commitment by the Morrison Government to increase the singles income test threshold from $57,761 to around $90,000 from July 1 this year, to give more senior Australians access to the concession card.

“This means that more people, including self-funded retirees, can access to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, which allows them to access cheaper medications on the PBS and more affordable healthcare, and it also means they may be eligible to save money on their state and local council bills such as receiving discounted rates, electricity, dental, eyecare and public transport,” Mr O’Brien said.

The threshold for couples will also increase from $92,416 to $144,000.

A re-elected Coalition Government will invest more than $70 million over four years to expand Commonwealth Seniors Health Card eligibility, helping an extra 50,000 senior Australians this year.

“Through this commitment, more senior Australians could save hundreds of dollars every year, including up to $428 a year on vital medications and a refund for medical costs if they reach the Medicare Safety Net.,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This builds on the Coalition’s measures that are already being delivered to ease cost of living pressures – we’ve cut the fuel excise by half, we’re delivering a $420 tax offset to low and middle-income earners, and thousands of eligible pensioners, welfare recipients, veterans and concession card holders in Wide Bay are receiving a $250 payment to help family budgets.”

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this is the first major change, outside of indexation, to the income threshold of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card in over 20 years.

“Our economic plan is delivering affordable, practical cost of living relief for senior Australians and this is the dividend of running a strong economy,” the Prime Minister said.

“The Coalition can deliver this because of our strong economic management.

“Every dollar counts, especially for older Australians who are no longer working. Senior Australians have worked hard to make Australia all that it is today, and it’s important that the country takes care of them in return.

“There is a clear choice at this election. Australians can vote for the Coalition with a plan for a strong economy and a stronger future that delivers cost of living relief, or a weak economy under Labor, which has no economic plan.”

Currently, more than 436,000 Australians aged over 67 years who are not already receiving a pension or benefit have a Seniors Health Card. The income threshold change will mean more than 486,000 would be eligible, an 11 per cent increase.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the commitment would build on the Coalition’s $525 million investment in the Budget to reduce the safety net threshold for PBS medications to help concession card holders who need multiple medicines a year.

“We are absolutely committed to supporting older Australians to have affordable access to the medicines and care they need so they can enjoy a happy and healthy retirement,” Minister Ruston said.

“The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card provides self-funded retirees with benefits including cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

“Senior Australians know the risks of Labor. When they were last in Government, Labor’s poor economic management left them unable to list vital medicines on the PBS.”

Only the Morrison Government has a plan to responsibly relieve cost of living pressures, create more jobs, guarantee the essential services Australians rely on and keep Australians safe.