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Morrison promises to expand seniors card access

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An extra 50,000 older Australians will get access to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card if the Morrison government is re-elected, as two new polls show Labor continues to lead on the two-party preferred vote.

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A day after Labor leader Anthony Albanese accused him of neglecting older Australians, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to announce an increase in the singles income test threshold – from $57,761 to around $90,000 – from July 1 this year to broaden access to the concession card.

The couples threshold will also increase from $92,416 to $144,000.

At the Commonwealth level, all card holders are eligible for cheaper medications and health care and may also be entitled to state, territory and local government savings, like discounted rates, electricity and gas bills, ambulance, dental, eye care, recreation and public transport.

Morrison says the $70 million expansion is part of the coalition’s plan to deliver cost of living relief.

“This means more senior Australians could save hundreds of dollars, including up to $428 a year for access to a monthly script for vital medicines and a refund for medical costs if you reach the Medicare safety net,” he said.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said the commitment would build on the government’s $525 million plan to reduce the safety net threshold for PBS medications, including a cut in the price of medications by $10 per script from January 1 next year.

At Labor’s campaign launch in Perth on Sunday, Albanese revealed a higher medicines price cut of $12.50.

As the election campaign reaches the halfway point, Labor is hoping its “A Better Future” themed campaign launch on Sunday will provide some momentum after Albanese spent a week in COVID-19 isolation.

The launch included new policies on first home purchasing, manufacturing and electric vehicles, as well as dealing with the issue of gender pay equity and fixing problems in aged care and child care.

A Newspoll published in The Australian on Monday shows Labor is leading the government by 53 per cent to 47 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

If realised, the coalition could lose 10 seats at the May 21 election.

A Resolve poll of 1408 voters published in Nine newspapers on Monday closely mirrored the Newspoll result, finding Labor leading on a two-party basis at 54 per cent to 46 per cent.

Early voting starts on May 9.

-AAP

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