ON Saturday 25 May, the NSW Labor Party won the state election to form a government.
The NSW Government regulates only a few things that exclusively affect older people. Transport and other concessions are a good example. But there are other things which affect people regardless of age, such as access to hospitals.
NSW Labor campaigned on cost-of-living, an issue that affects everybody directly, including older people.
Labor has committed to abolishing the small land tax scheme started up by the previous NSW Government. This means land tax will not be an issue for at least four years. That’s good news for people living on a low fixed income. But it doesn’t put more money in their pocket.
People who rent in the private market will be able to transfer rental bonds directly from one property to another. No longer a need to outlay money on a new bond while waiting for the old one to be paid out to you. It doesn’t save money, though.
Evictions will no longer be possible without a legally defined reason. In theory, this means fewer evictions and people not having to meet the cost of moving so often.
The introduction of a weekly $60 road toll cap is a good idea. It will benefit many working people on a reasonable wage. But people on low incomes can’t afford to spend $60 on road tolls each week. The cap will be meaning less to them.
The headline election commitment is for the public sector wages cap to be abolished. Importantly, this means nurses and paramedics will be able to campaign for higher wages.
The effect of higher wages would likely be more people wanting to work in nursing or on ambulances. This is good news for older people. As a group, they use hospital services a lot.
Moving on from cost-of-living to health, higher wages for nurses and paramedics will be needed to attract a promised 1,200 new nurses and 500 paramedics.
Those increased numbers of nurses and paramedics are also needed to staff an upgraded Fairfield Hospital ($115 million) and an expanded and upgraded Canterbury Hospital ($225 million).
Planning for a new hospital in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis (still known as Badgery’s Creek) will also start.
In transport, there will be $1.1 billion to fund road improvements in western Sydney and regional NSW.
Close to a billion dollars has been committed to making train stations accessible. The train station accessibility program commenced in 2000. It was to have all rail stations in NSW made accessible by 2020. There is still a long way to go with this program.
To address problem gambling, the new NSW Government will ban financial political donations from clubs. It will trial a mandatory cashless gaming card and will ban external gaming signage.
The new Government plans to end privatisation of state-owned assets. In the long term this should help slow down spiraling costs.
The photo shows the CPSA Bathurst NSW Election Forum: candidates for the seat of Bathurst, Paul Toole (Nationals), Kay Nankervis (Greens) and Cameron Shaw (Labor) – photo courtesy Western Advocate.