Minister takes concerns personally
UNRUFFLED she may have been but the Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot, was left in no doubt about the concerns of the Fraser Coast’s ageing population yesterday.
Before a packed Hervey House at Hervey Bay RSL, the minister took a barrage of questions from the floor during a full-on one hour session.
If she thought her work was done when host Labor Senator John Hogg brought the session to a close, she was sorely mistaken.
Reminiscent of Kevin Rudd’s visit to Hervey Bay Boat Club last November, residents swamped Ms Elliot with their own personal issues in no uncertain terms, among them single aged pensioner Peter Wiltshier.
Mr Wiltshier outlined to the minister the trials and tribulations he faced after he submitted an application for a pensioner’s unit.
His initial application to Bundaberg was rejected before he appealed to the Brisbane office and was placed on a high priority list.
Eventually he got a unit in Maryborough’s Ariadne Street but its shoebox dimensions left him disappointed and frustrated.
Yesterday he wanted the Minister for Ageing to understand his situation. “I want her to try and live on the pension; that’s $530 a fortnight.
“Our $30 rise last year was gone before we got it.
“There is a lack of co-ordination between the state and federal governments, so there is no accountability for the money.”
Mr Wiltshier highlighted one allocation of $750,000 for housing upgrades on the Fraser Coast which had been “literally wasted on things that are not needed”.
Ms Elliot left Hervey Bay in an upbeat mood, saying she was delighted to hear how lively and interested the understanding of health care was here.
“That’s why we’re here,” she said.
She highlighted health and pension reforms put in place by the Rudd government and its focus on aged care and community services.