Page 157 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 14 February 2018

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Mrs Dunne: If we want an answer, yes.


MR BARR: The consultation on the concessions program was undertaken, as members would be aware, I think in 2015 and 2016. It involved consultation broadly across the Canberra community.

I would make two statements in relation to this matter. Firstly, there is no change to the spectacles subsidy scheme, which provides up to $200 once every two years to eligible ACT residents. But to qualify for the scheme, the ACT resident must hold a Centrelink or DVA pensioner concession card or healthcare card. The seniors spectacles scheme was a non-means-tested scheme that provided a seniors cardholder, so a non-means-tested cardholder, with a $35 rebate towards the cost of spectacles once every two years.

We have maintained the targeted measure that pays $200 towards spectacles for those who are Centrelink and DVA concession cardholders. What has been abolished is a non-means-tested scheme that provided a $35 rebate once every two years.

MS LAWDER: Treasurer, how many seniors will be affected by the changes to the seniors spectacles scheme?

MR BARR: A relatively small number, given the size of the saving. The concessions review sought to target concessions at those who need them, and who qualified for those concessions by virtue of their income status. Non-means-tested concessions such as this one were recommended to be phased out.

MISS C BURCH: Treasurer, why is it that your government is always able to find money for pet projects and yet you are unable to provide basic services and support to the most vulnerable within our community?

MR BARR: This was a non-means-tested program. The government provides and targets its support to those who need it most. For the new member’s benefit, the budget update provided a $50 annual boost to the utilities concession for those lowest income Canberrans. What we have sought to do through the detailed analysis of the entire ACT concessions program is to better target those resources to those who need them most.

I would have thought that the new member, in light of her inaugural speech yesterday, where she spoke at length about the need to better target government spending, would in fact support a measure like this.

Waste—green bins

MR STEEL: My question is to the Minister for Transport and City Services. Can the minister update the Assembly on the take-up rate for the government’s green bins program in Weston Creek and Kambah?

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