Older Queenslanders built our state and they deserve respect! COVID-19 has reminded us how valuable our Seniors are. Whether it’s ourselves, treasured grandparents or community elders, it’s heartwrenching that Seniors are vulnerable to this terrible virus.

COVID-19 has been tough on Seniors. Visits from family were risky and home care services were sometimes patchy. The things that give life its sparkle, like lunch at the Club or a game of golf were cancelled.

Yet we’ve also seen community spirit at work! Nearly 30,000 people joined the Care Army to support vulnerable and older people. Neighbours dropped off groceries and walked pets. Everyone pulled together to support local businesses. In the thousands of calls, I made to older people during COVID-19, one thing came up over and over. There were tragic stories, like Ray who lost his wife and couldn’t hold a normal funeral. But everyone said, “There are people out there much worse off than me – it’s THEM I’m most worried about”.

It’s testament to the generous spirit of our community that Seniors’ first thoughts were for others. Every Queenslander can be proud of our amazing health response. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk took action to close our borders and our community worked together to keep cases low. Because of that strong health response, we can now focus on Queensland’s economic recovery.

A big part of Queensland’s economic recovery plan is making sure Seniors get a helping hand.

By now you should have received $200 off your utility bill, most often as a credit on your power bill. People say it’s been a big help, like Joan who told me the extra money in her budget meant she could buy soccer boots for her grandson.

Even better – another $50 will come off your bill around September.

We want Seniors to know what concessions they can claim. That’s where the Smart Savings website comes in. You’ll find Smart Savings at www.qld.gov.au/concessions From transport to Council rates to power bills and a special section just for Seniors, the Smart Savings website lets you apply for a whole range of concessions in one place.

There’s some you might not have heard of! Most Seniors know about water rebates, but did you know that you are entitled to free glasses through the Spectacle Supply Scheme?

I’m sure you know about discounted public transport, but did you realise that you can head off on a low-cost long-distance train trip, or get concession rates to visit one of our wonderful Queensland Museums?