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As the peak body for older South Australians, COTA SA is always keen to hear what older people think about issues facing them and to understand what would make a difference to their lives. Following the 14 May Federal Budget announcement we asked older people what they thought: what was positive, what was missing, and how they thought the Government’s spending decisions will influence their lives over the years ahead. With thanks to all who took part in our Federal Budget Survey; it offered valuable insights which will help us to develop effective policy positions and advocate for them, ensuring that the voices of older South Australians are heard. We are pleased to share some of the findings of our Federal Budget Survey here.

A total of 276 older people completed our short survey to tell us about how they felt about the May Federal Budget announcements. Nearly one third of the people surveyed felt very positive (5%) or somewhat positive (23%) about the Federal Budget. A similar percentage felt neutral (27%) and the largest proportion of people felt somewhat negative (25%) or very negative (17%).

Of the 42% of respondents who believed the Federal Budget measures would impact their quality of life over the next 1-2 years, more than half the group (59%) thought this impact would be negative (either completely negative (12%) or more negative than positive (47%)).By comparison, just over a third (36%) thought the budget would have a positive impact on their life (either completely positive (3%) or more positive than negative (33%)). A small percentage (5%) believed the impact would be neutral.

The most positively received budget announcements included the $300 energy rebate for every household (29%) and the freeze on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme cost increases for pensioners and concession card holders (16%).

When asked what they thought was good about the Federal Budget for themselves and older South Australians, almost a quarter (24%) expressed their belief that “nothing” was good.

When asked what was missing from the Budget, nearly a quarter of all respondents (24%) stated that a wider application of cost-of-living benefits was missed or likely to negatively impact their life and/or older Australians, and 18% pointed to the decision not to increase the aged pension as a missed opportunity with a negative impact. Concerns over aged care, no increase for the jobseeker payment, inflation, climate change and housing supply and affordability were also cited by respondents.

Our federally-focused colleagues at COTA Australia have released their response to the Federal Budget and you can read their statements here.

Here are some comments from older South Australians who took part in our Federal Budget survey:

“The $300 rebate will certainly help with POWER prices there are so many older Australians going without warmth as they can't afford to use their heaters due to high power prices.”

“the aged pension has had no mention from politicians, or the media post budget. It is as if we are an invisible species. Elderly people relying on the old, aged pension are struggling to survive and yet it seems that nobody cares.”

As these responses indicate, many older South Australians, particularly those on low and fixed incomes, are struggling to make ends meet.

COTA SA will be looking to the State Budget announcement on 6 June to provide much-needed cost of living relief, particularly for rising energy bills, which are a major cause of financial stress for older South Australians. We’re also advocating for an increase in social and affordable housing, and investment in regional infrastructure to improve transport and digital connectivity among other initiatives, aimed at helping all South Australians to age well.

Read more about our State Budget recommendations.

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