$250 Travel Card Slammed As A 'Bribe For The Bush'
The NSW National party has pledged $250 for seniors living in regional parts of the state to spend on transport, in what's been described as a 'bribe for the bush'.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro was forced to make the announcement on Friday after a letter trumpeting the promise was mistakenly sent to voters in the seat of Barwon the day before.
About 400,000 people are eligible for the offer, which applies to those with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and aged pensioners living in regional NSW.
The card can only be used for petrol, taxis and pre-booked trains and buses.
$100 million has been set aside for the two-year program, which starts next January.
"The Nationals are unapologetic about doing everything we can to support our regional seniors," Barilaro said.
"Many people in the city wouldn't realise how hard it can be to get to a local doctor or to see your family."
The policy has been slammed as "desperate, underhanded" and a "bribe" by Independent MP Jeremy Buckingham, who has referred the promise to the NSW Election Commission.
Buckingham says it appears to breach section 209 of the NSW Electoral Act 2017, pertaining to electoral bribery.
"The Nationals are worried about losing seats and this letter, that directly ties the act of voting to getting a $250 reward, is a desperate move that likely breaks the law," Buckingham said.
The Nationals are under pressure from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and Independents in several key country seats, in what will be a tight state election next month.