Most seniors will no longer have access to a $200 rebate to upgrade their home security after the State Government changed the criteria to make only those who have been burgled this year eligible.
The rebate was introduced in 2009 to give seniors up to $400 to buy security and safety devices, including home intruder alarms, deadlocks, security door screens and fire extinguishers.
Under the new criteria, only seniors whose homes have been broken into since January 1 and who have received the rebate before will be eligible for the $200 previously available to buy security screens and lighting for their homes. All seniors cardholders will still be able to apply for a rebate of up to $200 to buy a personal safety device. More than $8 million in rebates have been paid to 46,000 seniors since the scheme started.
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan says "virtually no one" will now be able to access the rebate for upgrades to home security.
He accused the Government of breaking its promise to increase funding for the safety and security rebate to $15 million to help cover the cost of buying personal safety alarms and help seniors whose homes had been burgled.
"It is ridiculous to have a security rebate scheme that virtually no one can access," Mr McGowan said.
Seniors cardholder Dot Seghezzi, 76, said she was disappointed to hear she was no longer eligible, because she needed a security screen door at the back of her house.
Ms Seghezzi, who lives alone in her home which has been broken into three times, said $200 did not sound like a lot of money but it would make a big difference to her.
"I don't feel safe and I can't open the back windows," she said. "There's no security screen, so I don't open those windows."
Seniors Minister Tony Simpson said the needs of seniors varied and the scheme had been changed to offer a rebate for personal security alarms after advice from the Seniors Ministerial Advisory Council.