Monday, 4 December 2023
THE much-anticipated debate calling for the reinstatement of the Regional Seniors Travel Card took place on the floor of State Parliament late last week, but the government failed to listen to the voices of thousands of seniors, according to Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall.
The debate was triggered when Mr Marshall tabled a petition of more than 10,000 signatures in the Parliament in October, in an attempt to have the government reverse its decision in the September Budget to axe the $250 prepaid card next calendar year.
“Unfortunately for our region’s seniors, it’s clear from last week’s debate that the government’s position remains absolutely unchanged,” Mr Marshall said.
“Rather than listening to the voices of the thousands of seniors who signed this petition, the government simply kicked dirt in their faces, refusing to reverse its cold-hearted and mean-spirited decision, during a cost-of-living crisis.
“In country NSW, we are not as well connected to trains, ferries and buses like our city counterparts, which is why this card was established – to help our seniors get from A to B.
“There will be no Christmas cheer this year for our region’s seniors, instead, the Christmas Grinch has come in full force, stealing pennies from our region’s most vulnerable.”
Mr Marshall reminded the Parliament during the debate that Premier Chris Minns had promised, during the March election campaign, to “roll over” the Regional Seniors Travel Card, if elected.
“Not only has the government betrayed this commitment and the State’s seniors, it now makes the spurious claim the card is being rorted by seniors, purchasing cigarettes and junk food,” Mr Marshall said.
“Despite this claim, the government hasn’t been able to produce even one example of this from the 12,000 people in my electorate or the million people across the State who have been using this card for three years. I call BS on that claim, and so do the people who signed this petition.”
Mr Marshall said the fight was far from over and he’s already working with key crossbench MPs, who hold the balance of power in the House, to push for the card to be reinstated in next June’s Budget.
“The government’s response was pathetic, but the fight is far from over,” Mr Marshall said.
“There is another Budget to be handed down in June next year, and I will do everything I can to continue to make the case for the reinstatement of this critical cost-of-living measure for our seniors.”