SAFFIN: Shadow Minister thanks volunteers
LAST week I hosted NSW Shadow Minister for Seniors and Volunteers Jo Haylen, who thanked all of the volunteers for their selfless acts during the bushfires at Nimbin, Bora Ridge, Woodenbong, Torrington, and earlier, at Rappville, Ewingar, Drake and near Tenterfield.
We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers fighting these fires and to the network of volunteers offering the essentials of shelter, food and clothing, and moral support, to local residents displaced by the fires.
Jo thanked Lismore Show Society Secretary Mark Bailey and his band of volunteers for their work while the evacuation centre was open at Lismore Showgrounds.
She also visited Salvation Army Lismore Lieutenants Philip and Donna Sutcliffe and their team at the Goonellabah headquarters.
The Salvos came to the aid of residents at the evacuation centre at Nimbin Showgrounds and assisted many Rappville residents impacted by the Busbys Flat Road fire.
We must also pay tribute to volunteers from the State Emergency Services, Australian Red Cross, Anglicare, the Country Women’s Association, the Disaster Recovery Chaplain Network, BlazeAid – indeed everyone who is out there supporting State agencies with the recovery effort.
Jo Haylen also met with seniors outraged by the Nationals failure to budget for 60 per cent of seniors living in regional NSW, who could miss out on the $250 Regional Seniors Travel Card due to poor budget planning by the Nationals.
According to State Budget and Parliamentary Budget Office figures, the Government has only budgeted for 40 per cent of eligible seniors taking up the $250 rebate on transport and fuel, meaning 60 per cent of seniors may miss out unless the Government tops up the program.
If 100 per cent of eligible seniors took up the scheme, the scheme would blowout by $135 million over three years.
The Seniors Travel Card delays are unacceptable, particularly when many eligible seniors on the Northern Rivers already are finding it hard to make ends meet.
I’m starting to see a pattern with the Nationals; they make big-spending election commitments to win votes, get back into government and then go slow on delivering the goods.
Many seniors justifiably could feel angry because the year is almost out and they are still waiting on these cards.