State Budget 2016
The State Government budget delivered this week contains some excellent funding programs in areas of great relevance to Victorian seniors, the most outstanding being in family violence with elder abuse prevention and support.
COTA’s Seniors Rights Victoria successfully lobbied the Royal Commission on Family Violence to include elder abuse and they did so. There are many references in the RC Report to the proposals made by SRV. Over $500 million is being committed to family violence over 4 years.
Another area is the $356 million for mental health services including suicide prevention. Last year 654 people died by suicide, more than double the road toll.
There is also $15 million committed to the establishment of a Pride Centre for LGBTI people.
One area of concern is the cutting of concessions to seniors. Changes to age pension eligibility by the Commonwealth Government will impact on Victorian concessions in 2017-18. Fewer Victorian retirees will get the pension card and the concessions it provides so that concessions on energy, rates, water and sewerage will be $456 million in 16/17 down from $490 million in 15/16.
Important budget items on ‘big’ issues will be welcomed by older people particularly on health and public transport.
The Commonwealth Budget to be delivered next Tuesday will have a major impact on older people in the area of retirement incomes.