Vital support for Barwon pensioners and seniors extended; Humphries squashes Labor’s newsagent ‘scare campaign’
Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries said a re-elected NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will offer further protections for NSW pensioners and seniors in Barwon by extending the commitment to fund concessions that were cut in the federal budget.
The concessions were withdrawn by the Commonwealth in its budget, prompting the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government to cover the shortfall for 12 months.
Under the commitment, the NSW Government support will be extended by a further three years should the NSW Liberals & Nationals win the March election – at a cost of $343 million.
“This announcement is fantastic news for pensioners and seniors in Barwon who would have been affected by these harsh cuts,” Mr Humphries said.
“When these cuts were first announced in the Federal Budget the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government acted swiftly to restore this vital support for 12 months.
“Thanks to the strong economic management of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government we are now able to extend this vital support to Barwon pensioners and seniors for a further three years.”
“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is ensuring we protect and support vulnerable members of our society, such as pensioners and seniors on fixed incomes who would have been affected by these cuts,” Mr Humphries said.
Funding concessions available to pensioners and seniors include discounted public transport fares, energy and water bills, council rates and vehicle registration.
Meanwhile, Mr Humphries has backed comments by NSW Treasurer, Andrew Constance clarifying the current situation around NSW Lotteries.
Mr Humphries said the Labor Party had a very short memory on this subject.
“The Labor Government privatised lotteries five years ago with no protection for newsagents,” Mr Humphries said.
“It was the NSW Liberals and Nationals in the Upper House who amended the bill to give a five year moratorium and exclusivity agreement for newsagents,” he said.
Mr Humphries said it was now up to newsagency industry groups and the Tatts Group to negotiate a franchise agreement.
“Labor privatised NSW Lotteries, so therefore it is now up to private business to negotiate a successful outcome for all parties,” he said.
“Our role is to ensure discussion continues with newsagents and the Tatts Group to find an agreement which is in the best interests of both parties, as well as taxpayers.”
The NSW Government will also be conscious of the potential $300 million compensation claim to the Tatts Group should the moratorium be extended, which could hurt taxpayers.
When asked about the possible threat newsagents faced from sharing NSW Lotteries with supermarket chains, Mr Humphries said he saw no reason to panic.
“Andrew Constance has received communication from the Tatts group confirming that they have no plans to go into supermarkets at this time,” Mr Humphries said.
“Labor are trying to create a scare campaign, and conveniently leaving out the fact that they caused this issue in the first place,” he said.
“Small businesses account for about 95% of all businesses in the Barwon Electorate and I would never support a policy that was designed to push small businesses out.”
The Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner has offered free small business advice and planning sessions to work with affected newsagents, to assist with business and financial planning.