100,000 Seniors Now Using Digital Seniors Card

Seniors in the region are continuing to embrace digital with more than 100,000 people across the state now taking advantage of the digital Seniors Card.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said while there would always be a non-digital version, it was great to see so many seniors taking advantage of the digital option to access discounts and benefits on dining out, entertainment and travel.

“This milestone shows the seniors of regional and rural areas are confidently using digital products and demonstrates the real impact and benefits these solutions can have in all age groups,” Ms Cooke said.

“The Seniors Card has come a long way since it was first introduced in 1992, it is now the largest program of its kind in Australia.”

“After a successful pilot in March involving 4,000 people, we are currently seeing more than 30,000 people across the state getting their digital Seniors Card each month.

“It is great to see 100,000 people take up the digital option in just a few months.”

For 30 years, it has been helping ease the cost of living for card holders by providing access to discounts and rebates at shops, travel, entertainment, and professional services providers.

“There are more than 6,500 businesses and service providers across NSW with discounts, and I encourage more to follow.”

To find instructions on how to add a digital Seniors or Senior Savers Card to the Service NSW app, or to learn more visit service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/nsw-seniors-card-program.

Be Part of the 65th Annual Seniors Festival

The call is out for local organisations to help fill a calendar of engaging and empowering activities for older people during the 2023 NSW Seniors Festival.

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke said the $200,000 NSW Seniors Festival Grants Program supports initiatives that encourage people aged 60 or over to stay healthy, connected to their community and active.

“This is an opportunity to celebrate or build on the diverse skills and interests of seniors in our community in areas like art, sport, health or technology,” Ms Cooke said.

“This year’s Seniors Festival included computer classes, dance lessons and gardening workshops, so it would be terrific to see local groups come up with more creative and fun activities for the 2023 festival.”

Local councils, community groups and not-for-profit organisations are among those who can apply for grants of up to $10,000.

“The Seniors Festival is an opportunity for all seniors in our community to be active, connected and social—no matter their location, language or ability level,” Ms Cooke added.

Minister for Seniors Mark Coure said the NSW Seniors Festival is the largest event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and has been running for more than 60 years

“These grants reinforce the NSW Government’s commitment to helping older people in NSW stay connected with their community as outlined in the Ageing Well in NSW: Seniors Strategy 2021–2031.”

The Seniors Festival will run from 1 – 12 February 2023. Applications for grants are open now until 1 August 2022.

For more information and to apply, visit seniorsfestival.nsw.gov.au/events/nsw-seniors-festival-grants

NSW Seniors Festival Begins

Seniors throughout the Cootamundra Electorate are encouraged to get out and join in local activities while reconnecting with their community during this year’s NSW Seniors Festival which starts on Friday 25 March and runs until Sunday 3 April 2022.

More than 90 community organisations and councils across the state will host events in the coming weeks to celebrate this year’s NSW Seniors Festival.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said she hopes to see people in the area participating and taking the opportunity to reconnect with friends and other members of the community.

“We’d like to see as many local seniors take part in this year’s Seniors Festival as possible. We know that the last couple of years have not been easy, and we hope that the festival brings some much needed joy,” Ms Cooke said.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw increased rates of loneliness and isolation, especially amongst the elderly in our rural communities, so the theme of ‘Reconnect’ for this year’s festival is very meaningful.”

Minister for Seniors Mark Coure said local councils and organisations received up to $10,000 to organise activities focussed on getting older people out and about.

“The Seniors Festival is a great opportunity for people to come together in a safe and fun environment,” Mr Coure said.

“There are plenty of ways for everyone to get involved, so please make sure to look up what’s happening around you.” 

The 2022 Seniors Festival will be held from Friday, 25 March until Sunday, 3 April and includes the ever-popular Premier’s Gala Concerts and Expo.

The grants are in line with the NSW Government’s Ageing Well in NSW: Seniors Strategy 2021–2031.

Festival grant recipients will also deliver programs to help and support seniors make the best of their later years.

For more information from the NSW Government about the 2022 NSW Seniors Festival, please visit: seniorsfestival.nsw.gov.au.

For more information on events happening in the Cootamundra electorate during the 2022 Seniors Festival, please visit:

  • Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council
  • Hilltops Council
  • Cowra Shire Council
  • Narrandera Shire Council

Alternatively, please contact your local council or community centre directly for event information in your area.

New Program to Help Keep Temora Seniors Connected

Seniors of Temora Shire are set to benefit from a new program run by the Temora Shire Council which is designed to keep them socially connected with friends, family and the community.

The program named Learning – Laughing – Loving, will deliver an opportunity for up to 30 participants a month to come together at the new Temora Arts Centre and try a creative activity at no expense, thanks to funding from the NSW Government.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has congratulated the Temora Shire Council on being awarded funding support for the initiative.

“I’m proud the Temora community has stepped up to promote new activities which will empower our local senior citizens to stay connected,” Ms Cooke said.

“Providing this opportunity will support those involved to build lasting relationships and shows that we value their important place in our region as role models, carers and volunteers.”

Ms Cooke said the Learning – Laughing – Loving program will provide Temora seniors with the chance to gain new skills, hear information from service providers and make new connections in a safe and inclusive environment, with a morning or afternoon tea included.

Mayor of Temora Shire Council, Cr Rick Firman said seniors have been and always will be extremely special members of our community.

“This program is our way of being able to give something back to them in return for all they have given us,” Cr Firman said.

“Thanks to the hard work of our wonderful State Member and the NSW Government, this tremendous initiative recognises the fact that we stand on the shoulders of our precious seniors.”

A public exhibition of the group’s collective creative works will be showcased in December this year to celebrate and recognise their achievements whilst in the program.

Minister for Seniors Mark Coure said 24 local councils and community groups have received a share in $600,000 to run programs designed to reduce social isolation among seniors.

“Even without the challenges of COVID-19 – no one likes to be alone or feel disconnected from their community, especially not our seniors,” Mr Coure said. 

“This funding is about helping create environments where people can come together, meet new people and, above all, enjoy themselves in a social environment.

“These programs are helping us achieve exactly that, whether it be helping seniors learn a new skill, connect with like-minded people or even rekindle their passion for a previous hobby,” he said.

Grants of up to $60,000 were on offer for NSW councils or organisations running community-focused, meaningful activities. They must run until December 2022. The projects actively seek out socially isolated NSW residents aged 65 and older, and/or Aboriginal people aged 50 and over, and/or priority target groups.

For more information on the program and recipients, visit: www.facs.nsw.gov.au/inclusion/seniors/reducing-social-isolation-grant-program

More Seniors To Benefit From Regional Seniors Travel Card

The Regional Seniors Travel Card is a $250 prepaid VISA card designed to ease the burden of travel costs for eligible seniors in rural, regional and remote areas including the Cootamundra electorate.

Increased funding will allow the card to be extended from 2022 to additional seniors in the regions, including people of Age Pension age who receive either a Disability Pension or a Carers Payment from Services Australia.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said seniors across regional NSW have benefited from the initial two-year travel card trial, with 337,500 cards issued in 2020 and more than 330,000 cards issued to regional seniors so far in 2021.

“It’s great to see the program continue to expand, as it is already having a positive impact for eligible applicants and I’m really glad the initiative is set to continue for two more years,” Ms Cooke said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the card has been an overwhelming success.

“This card has made a big difference to the lives of seniors living in the bush who often have fewer transport options than those living in big cities like Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong – and we’re excited to announce it will be offered again in 2022 and 2023,” Mr Barilaro said.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the Regional Seniors Travel card has provided a significant boost to businesses across the regions.

“Having an extra $250 in their pocket has made it easier for regional seniors to get to the shops and medical appointments and stay connected locally and with friends and family living in other parts of the State. It’s also injected more than $108 million into regional economies, benefitting local taxi operators and fuel stations,” Mr Toole said.

“We’ve been reviewing the schemes that support people with disability and carers to ensure they meet the needs of those in the regions, including investing in community transport and a new smart card for Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme. We know these groups would also like to be eligible for the Regional Seniors Travel Card and we’re pleased to be able to make that happen as part of the next phase of this program,” Mr Toole said.

“The card can be used for pre-booked NSW Trainlink Regional trains and coaches, fuel and taxis, making travelling more accessible and convenient for our seniors who often have less transport options than those living in the city.”

From 2022, eligible applicants will include seniors of age pension age with:

  • A valid Pensioner Concession Card;
  • A Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • A Disability Pension or a Carers Payment from Services Australia
  • A Service Pension issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • A Disability Pension through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986
  • A War Widow Pension issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs

The regional boundaries for applicants will remain the same in 2022. More information about which regional areas are included in this initiative can be found at www.service.nsw.gov.au,

Applications for 2022 cards will open in the New Year for the expanded list of eligible applicants. Applications for the card can be made online at  www.service.nsw.gov.au, by calling 13 77 88 or by visiting a Service NSW Service Centre.