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June van de Klashorst
WA seniors to benefit from new concessions
13/12/2000 11:36 AM
Up to 240,000 Western Australian seniors could be eligible for significant rebates on Government charges and local government rates as part of a new package of concessions unveiled today by Premier Richard Court.
Mr Court said the expansion of the Western Australian Senior’s Card concessions would be of particular benefit to the State’s self-funded retirees.
“With the Western Australian economy performing strongly and with good financial management, we are able to provide the funds for these additional benefits,” he said.
The concessions would target a number of core areas and include a substantial rebate on local government and water rates, lower motor vehicle and driver licence fees and an airconditioning subsidy for seniors living in 30 communities in areas such as the Kimberley, Pilbara and Murchison.
“The expanded concessions are worth an extra $9 million annually - taking the total value of benefits to Senior’s Card holders to $20 million a year,” the Premier said.
The concessions will be available in full or in part to every holder of a WA Senior’s Card, of which there are currently 195,000 in Western Australia, or about 80 per cent of the State’s eligible seniors.
A further 45,000 WA seniors could receive some or all of the concessions if they apply to the Office of Seniors’ Interests for a free WA Senior’s Card.
The WA Senior’s Card is already calculated by the Office of Seniors’ Interests to be worth up to $740 a year in State Government concessions, with rebates and discounts provided on a variety of services including Western Power supply charges, public transport, water charges, entrance to the Perth Zoo, TAFE courses and spectacles.
Seniors’ Minister June van de Klashorst said as a result of the changes, Senior’s Card holders, who also have a Commonwealth Senior’s Health Card (CSHC), would now receive some of the significant concessions received by Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) holders.
To qualify for a CSHC, under the current criteria men must be aged 65 or more and women 61.5 years or more. Annual income must not exceed $41,000 for singles or $68,676 for couples.
“The value to Senior’s Card holders who qualify for a CSHC, including existing concessions, will be up to $1140 a year," Mrs van de Klashorst said.
“The move is especially targeted to the growing number of self-funded retirees who live on low, fixed incomes but have previously been ineligible for the full range of concessions available to Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card holders.
“This is the first time such a package of concessions has been offered to self-funded retirees in Western Australia.”
Mr Court said the increased assistance package comprised:
a rebate of 50 per cent or a deferment of local government and water rates for Senior’s Card holders who own their homes and who also have a CSHC. The estimated average value of the concession is $438 per year;
a 25 per cent local government rate rebate for Senior’s Card holders without a CSHC (capped at a maximum level of $188.10) calculated on the same basis as the cap for water rate rebates. The average value of the concession will be $118 per year;
a pro-rata rebate or deferment will be available to those who become eligible after the start of the rating years;
the 50 per cent concession on motor vehicle licence fees, currently only available to pensioners, will be extended to Senior’s Card holders who also have a CSHC. The average value of the concession is $93 annually;
Senior’s Card holders with a CSHC will be eligible for a 100 per cent concession on drivers licence fees. The average value of the concession is $41 per year;
a seniors’ home maintenance inspection service will be established. The service will provide seniors with reports on urgent maintenance requirements, assess basic security and safety and suggest any necessary modifications. The scheme is designed to help seniors remain in their own homes for as long as they are able to; and -
a new airconditioning subsidy will also be provided to Senior’s Card holders (who qualify for a Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card or CSHC) living in areas with a harsh climate. The level of the subsidy will be equal to the cost of 200kw hours of electricity per month. The average value of the concession will be $155 per year.
The airconditioning subsidy would apply to eligible seniors in 30 communities including Broome, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Derby, Wyndham, Port Hedland, Cue, Laverton, Meekatharra and Yalgoo. About 2,500 residences will be eligible.
The package will take effect from July 1, 2001.
“The Senior’s Card is a State Government initiative which recognises and rewards seniors for their lifetime of contribution to our community,” the Premier said.
“The decision to extend the range of concessions is further recognition of the significant contribution seniors make to our community and also reflects the fact that we have listened to individual seniors and representative groups in developing this initiative.”
People seeking more information on the WA Senior’s Card should phone 1800 671 233 between 9am and 3pm on weekdays.
Casey Cahill - 9222 9475
Owen Cole - 9481 7810