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Tasmania’s senior residents face austere budget

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Tasmania’s budget barely lifts the burden of older residents’ living costs, said over 50s lobby group National Seniors Australia.

Premier and treasurer, Lara Giddings, has handed down an austere 2013/14 budget with a record $426 million deficit, but there were no savage spending cuts or a spending spree in the lead-up to the state election next year.

National Seniors’ policy advisory group chair Mary Parsissons welcomed the $1.74 million funding boost for breast screening for rural and remote communities.

“Grey nomads” could also take some joy from a duty exemption for caravans and camper trailers, starting from July 1, but there was no similar relief on campervans and motor homes.

While there was $300,000 extra funding for the Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, the 65 year age limit for workers’ compensation incapacity payments still remained.

“National Seniors welcomes the extra $16.4 million to fund new concessions for people whose medical needs mean their power bills can be very high,” Parsissons said.

“But we are disappointed there is no increase to the Pensioner Concession Card electricity concession and no extension of the electricity concession to Seniors Card holders,” she said.

“While there were no major cutbacks to services, overall there was precious little joy for the state’s older residents.”

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