By ERWIN CHLANDA
Seniors Minister Lauren Moss and the official in her department in charge of the annual $500 recognition payment to Territorians over 65, Kelly Hunter, have gone to ground on issues raised by the News last week.
Ms Hunter declined to pay the amount to an Alice Springs resident of more than 30 years although the application was made on May 21.
The only obstacles to the payment were created by the department for which Minister Moss is responsible.
Sue Shearer, CEO of the Council On The Ageing (COTA), when asked for comment, says: “Thirty days to process a card is really not good business practice.
“If I lost my normal credit card it is replaced in seven days.”
COTA is dealing with more than 30,000 seniors in the NT. Her staff of two, dedicated to the Seniors Card, are issuing 300 cards a month, including replacements.
The Alice Springs applicant was told it would take a month for the application to be considered.
That month ended yesterday but no formal advice has been received as yet.
Ms Hunter claimed the process of issuing a Visa card is taking a month but the company producing the cards, as we reported, said the time was five days or less.
Using a courier service the card would have been in the hands of the senior, still having three working days to spend the funds – such as for travel – before the end of the fiscal year.
Says Ms Shearer: “If that company can do its work in five days then why does it take a further month to issue the cards?”
Neither Minister Moss nor Ms Hunter answered questions the News emailed at 12.20pm yesterday.