Raising the BARR – Week ending 7 February 2020

Welcome Rains

I had to smile at some small children playing in a running water-course over the weekend. While I am not sure how old these little ones were, it occurred to me that they might never have seen it raining like this; causing our waterways and creeks to flow freely. My fingers are crossed that they don’t have to wait so long for the next event.

It also gave me joy that our ability to predict the weather is still anything but a certainty. This follows several briefings and documents that I had received during recent months that suggested an extended hot dry period right into the middle of 2020. Well the weekend rain shattered those predictions and I couldn’t be happier about it.

The rain appears to have completely extinguished all fires in our local area after months of burning deep in our National Parks and State Forests as well as on our doorsteps. Hopefully our wonderful firefighters will get a well deserved rest.

And finally, in the classic spirit of goldfish politics, I hope that the importance of structural change about managing our fire prone areas and the resources that we put into them is not lost on those making decisions and those setting budgets.

Regional Senior Travel Card

Twelve months ago, during the NSW State Election, the Government promised $250 to aged pensioners in regional NSW to assist with the cost of travel in areas where public transport was limited and most people needed to own and operate a car to be mobile. Sadly though, as the program is rolled out and the details become clearer, there are certainly winners and losers in the scheme.

At the time of writing this column these are the things that you need to know:

To be eligible you must be:

  • An Age Pension recipient with a valid Pensioner Concession Card (you must have received the age pension for at least one month); or
  • A Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holder (you must have held your card for at least one month); and
  • Living in a designated regional area of NSW (Cessnock City, Lake Macquarie and Singleton are all designated regional areas.)
  • Must permanently reside in an Eligible Area with NSW.

Note: Your Pensioner Concession Card or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card can be issued by the Department of Human Services or Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

To apply you can call Service NSW 13 77 88, visit a Service NSW Centre or apply online www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-regional-seniors-travel-card.

Note: You don’t need a MyServiceNSW Account or email address if you’re applying in person or on the phone.