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Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson MP, has raised concerns about the legitimacy of the National’s Regional Seniors Transport Card after it was revealed that seniors who hold a DVA Gold card, receive a carer’s payment or a disability support payment, are being denied access to the scheme.

The Regional Seniors Travel Card was intended to provide eligible seniors in rural and regional NSW with a $250 prepaid card to ease the cost of travel.

DVA Gold card holders are excluded from the program, including former prisoners of war, World War 2 veterans and permanently disabled veterans.

The Regional Seniors Transport Card was released later than promised, must be applied for online, and is critically underfunded by $135 million over three years, meaning that over half of eligible seniors may miss out.

Similarly, entire communities across NSW are missing out, including the Illawarra, because they are deemed to be in “metropolitan” regions.

“Those residents, living in suburbs north of Albion Park Rail, in the Shellharbour electorate, are not eligible to apply because the Wollongong LGA is deemed metropolitan said Ms Watson.

“It is simply unacceptable that so many local seniors are missing out, this just isn’t the same card the Nationals’ promised during the election.”

“Not only are a big chunk of residents from my electorate being excluded from this program, so are every DVA Gold card holder, and every recipient of the carer’s payment or a disability support payment. My community has every right to be furious.”

“Over the past few weeks, I have had a number of concerned residents contact my office, expressing their concerns about their ineligibility for this scheme."

“The list of seniors in our region who aren’t eligible for the $250 card is getting longer than the list of those who are.”

“There is no acceptable reason why seniors with disability, seniors that are carers, and some of our most vulnerable veterans should not have access to this scheme.”

“Like the rest of my NSW Labor colleagues, I’m calling for the Liberals and Nationals to reverse this cruel oversight and ensure all seniors in regional communities are eligible to receive the help they need” said Ms Watson.

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