PULLED PLUG: Some seniors go without heating or cooling due to rising electricity charges.
PULLED PLUG: Some seniors go without heating or cooling due to rising electricity charges. Chrissy Harris

Seniors forced to pull the plug on heating and cooling

MANY older Australians struggle to maintain even a modest standard of living because of spiralling power, health and other costs.

National Seniors chief advocate Ian Henschke said rising costs were exacerbated by government rules preventing seniors from earning more than $6500 a year without losing part of the age pension.

"One in three said increasing the work bonus which we argue should be lifted to $10,000 per annum would enable them to continue in paid employment,” he said.

"Older Australians fear their access to essential services such as power is at risk and we know many are unable to pay for air conditioning in summer or heating in winter because of spiralling energy costs.

"We commend government efforts to bring these under control but they have come too late and we constantly hear stories of going without food or other essential items to pay power bills.

"That's why the government should retain the energy supplement and accelerate reforms to lower power costs.”

National Seniors has also called on the government to double the number of level three and four home care packages to ease current shortages.

"More than 100,000 seniors are waiting for these packages and if they can't get the care they need, taxpayers will again be picking up the tab when they are forced into residential aged care because they cannot look after themselves at home.

"It's also essential the accreditation system for aged care facilities be ramped up.

"We welcome the government's recent move to introduce unannounced quality and safety audits but more is needed.

"Quality surveyors must seek the views of all residents or their representatives rather than the current 10 percent to ensure their voices are heard.”



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