'Little relief': Seniors advocates slam Queensland budget
THE Queensland Government has given "little relief" to its elderly residents after handing down its latest budget overnight.
That's the damning assessment of National Seniors Australia with the advocacy group claiming small wins were overshadowed by major losses - such as the axing of the Back to Work Mature Aged Worker Boost scheme.
The program gave employers an incentive - payments of up to $20,000 - to hire jobseekers aged 55 and over. But it will be cut from 30 June 2018.
"This is hardly going help older people find employment in a job market where age discrimination is so pervasive when it comes to hiring and keeping mature-age workers," National Seniors Queensland Policy Advisory Group chair Vera Somerwil said.
"Many older people still have much to offer and want to keep working."
The budget also lacked clarity on how seniors would navigate the rising cost of living with only the continuation of the $50 electricity rebate - a scheme introduced last year - mentioned as a path to financial help.
And Ms Somerwil dismissed the idea the rebate would ease the minds of Queensland seniors when choosing between the essentials of life.
"Older people on pensions and low fixed incomes have been struggling with living costs for years and this budget gives them little relief," Ms Somerwil said.
However, Ms Somerwil did acknowledge the positives in the budget with the Government committing to the roll-out of $900,000 for seniors' legal and support services to Gladstone, Rockhampton, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Mackay.
The government announced it would also continue to fund existing services in Toowoomba, Brisbane, Hervey Bay, Cairns and Townsville and the seniors' enquiry line, which provides advice on consumer protection issues and scams, would receive an extra $100,000 a year for the next two years.
"Elder abuse is a scourge on our society and any measures to help stamp it out are welcome," Ms Somerwil said.
"Older people need to know help and advice is available for them when they need it."