Election 2022: Coalition’s overtures to older Australians matched by Labor

By Melissa Coade

May 2, 2022

Scott Morrison hands out lolly bags
Scott Morrison hands out lolly bags on Monday morning. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The Labor party said on Monday it would match promises made by Scott Morrison to ease cost of living pressures for older Australians.

The prime minister announced that a re-elected Coalition government would make changes to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card to deliver more affordable health care and medications to 50,000 older Australians. 

“More senior Australians could save hundreds of dollars, including up to $428 a year for access to a monthly script for vital medicines and a refund for medical costs if you reach the Medicare Safety Net,” Morrison said in a statement, arguing the generous changes were possible because of his government’s strong economic management. 

“This is the first major change, outside of indexation, to the income threshold of the commonwealth seniors health card in over 20 years,” he added.

Under the proposed changes, both an LNP or Labor government have committed to spending $70 million over four years to expand eligibility for cheaper medications and health care. 

From July 1 this year, the singles income test threshold will increase from $57,761 to around $90,000 giving more senior Australians access to the concession card.  The couple’s threshold will move up from $92,416 to $144,000.

Family and social services minister Anne Ruston said the income threshold changes would result in a 11% increase in concession card eligibility, giving more than 486,000 people over 67 years access to the seniors health card. She also claimed that when Labor was last in government, the party’s ‘poor economic management’ meant fewer medicines could be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

“The commonwealth seniors health card provides self-funded retirees with benefits including cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme,” Ruston said. 

“We are absolutely committed to supporting older Australians to have affordable access to the medicines and care they need so they can enjoy a happy and healthy retirement.”

The reforms will also mean more older citizens will be eligible for state, territory and local government savings including discounted rates, electricity and gas bills, ambulance, dental, eye care, recreation and public transport.

“Every dollar counts, especially for older Australians who are no longer working. Senior Australians have worked hard to make Australia all that it is today, and it’s important that the country takes care of them in return,” Morrison said.


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