ACT Budget – Rates, Cost of Living & Flexible Bus

The cost of living pressures are an issue for many older citizens. As announced several months ago, there will be a $50 increase to the utilities concession from 1 July 2018 taking the total payment to $654 a year. With winter upon us it is hoped this will provide some relief for households managing their winter energy consumption, especially those older Canberrans on a fixed income. For more information about how you can better understand electricity bills and energy efficiency, and access upgrades, financial support and concessions, this ACT Government resource is very helpful.  As well, free off-peak public transport for concession card holders is being extended for another 12 months in accordance with our agreement with the labor party.

Rates continue to be an issue for many older home owners there has been considerable  advocacy in the Assembly for better access to and information from the Government about the General Rates Aged Deferral Scheme, including for unit owners. The budget expanded the Scheme to cover all home owners over 65. You can find more information on all the Rates Assistance here.

Flexible Bus

The Flexible Bus Service is available to Canberra residents who have limited access to public transport options. It is a basic bus service which is localised to particular zones.

Designed specifically for residents such as the aged or people with a mobility difficulty, the Flexible Bus Service is a free service which operates off a basic timetable, picking up residents from their home and taking them to local community service providers such as local shopping centres and hospitals. The fleet of minibuses are all wheelchair accessible.

The service is assessed on a case by case basis. To qualify, you may be asked if you comply with the following criteria:

  • seniors card holders with mobility issues
  • seniors card holders aged 70 or over
  • living in a nursing home and/or retirement village
  • impacted by a permanent or temporary disability that prevents you from accessing regular route services
  • holders of a Vision Impaired (VIP), or Total and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) travel pass.

Carers with a valid carers card are welcome to travel. If you are a carer or need your carer to accompany you on the bus please let the operator know at the time of booking.

see http://www.transport.act.gov.au/getting-around/bus-services/accessible-transport-options#flexible-bus-service

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