Pensioners Respond to the NSW Budget 2018-2019
“The NSW 2018-2019 budget hasn’t committed enough funding to significantly improve access to housing, dental health services, palliative care and accessible transport in NSW”, said CPSA Policy Officer Bronagh Power.
“CPSA welcomes the NSW Government’s commitment of $10 million to palliative care services. This will go towards much needed upskilling of nurses and allied health staff in palliative care in regional and rural facilities. However, CPSA wonders why an expansion of palliative care beds and outreach services has not also been funded. It must be a priority of the Government to maximise quality of life and reduce suffering for people at the end of their lives.
“The Government’s current strategies for reducing homelessness are not working, with a 37 per cent increase in homelessness in NSW since 2011. The announcement of $1 billion to tackle homelessness is welcome. But instead of focussing on getting people into secure homes, the Government has committed $9.1 million for transitional accommodation.
“The Government has also committed $83.4 million for community housing leasing in the private rental market, but as the 2016-17 commitment of $76 million only resulted in 5,880 more community housing dwellings, this Budget’s slightly higher amount will make only a small dent in the 60,000 households on the public and community housing waiting list. At the same time the Government has declared it a state priority to increase the number of households transitioning out of social housing by 5 per cent over three years. Rather than inject more funding to get people into a permanent home, it appears that the Government is simply shifting people around.
“The Government will also provide $35.7 million towards private rental assistance. But with a 53.7 per cent increase in the portion of low income households over 65 paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rent since 2012, this is not a long term solution. The solution must focus on both significantly increasing the amount of public and community housing and addressing the structural factors contributing to the housing affordability crisis in NSW.
“Whilst CPSA welcomes any additional funding towards public dental services, the $10 million committed in the Budget which aims to enable 17,000 more patients to receive a course of dental care, won’t even make a dent in the waiting list of 98,000 people.
“CPSA welcomes the news that 11 train stations between Sydenham and Bankstown will be upgraded to be fully accessible for people with mobility difficulties. The Transport Access Program, which has been in place since 2011, promised to make all train stations in NSW fully accessible. With a budget surplus this should have been a budget priority, but many stations have missed out on funding again with no end date in sight. For too long, too many people with mobility difficulties have not been able to access their local train stations. This is a huge issue for people on low incomes who cannot afford taxis. It should be the highest priority to make all stations fully accessible over the next 18 months.”