Short-changed

By ROXANNE MILLAR

IT hasn't been legal tender for years, but two cents is all the NSW government thinks our seniors are worth.

To support local Seniors Week celebrations next month, they have given the Tweed Shire a $300 grant.

With almost 17,000 seniors in the shire, this equates to less than two cents each.

To make matters worse, only 24 seniors will actually benefit from the paltry grant, which will fund a computer course for oldies at the Murwillumbah Adult Education Centre.

The NSW government has also refused the Tweed Shire Senior Citizens Week Committee a $500 grant to go towards a special luncheon to celebrate Seniors Week.

A committee spokesperson said without the government support they had been forced to change the luncheon and put extra effort into fundraising.

"It was disappointing to not get the grant when we do have one of the highest elderly populations in NSW," the spokesperson said.??"It is important to get community, council and state government support for Seniors Week because it provides fantastic social opportunities.

"It gives the elderly the chance to learn new skills, discover new clubs and is important for people who have retired up here and have lost their support structure."

Staff at Tweed MP Neville Newell's office were trying to secure more funding for the local celebrations yesterday.

They said they didn't realise the senior's committee had been knocked back for funding before the Daily News contacted them. They said this was because a body independent from the government had determined the grant recipients.

Earlier in the week, the office had sent out a media release in which Mr Newell praised the grant for increasing access to celebrations for local seniors.

"We want to make sure Sen- iors Week is celebrated in every local area in NSW," he had said.

Tweed mayor Warren Polglase yesterday hit out at Mr Newell for not supporting the local funding applications and called the government's grant decision a slap in the face.

"We thought the state government was more supportive of what we do and how we do it," he said.

"You cannot be selective in this sort of thing."

Mr Newell said the committee's application for funding had been denied twice, once last year and again this year, but that he would seek advice on it.

"Now this problem has been raised with me I am seeking further explanation from minister Della Bosca," he said.

"Organisations seeking grants should contact me immediately if they are having difficulties overcoming bureaucratic hurdles." Throughout NSW, $175,000 has been allocated for Seniors Week celebrations, roughly 20 cents a person.



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