A CSU professor of political science attributes the NSW Coalition's promise of a regional transport card to its fear of the threat from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro announced this week that the Nationals will introduce a $250 Regional Seniors Transport Card.
It will be a debit card that seniors can use to pay for petrol, trips with participating taxis, pre-booked TrainLink trains and coach services.
The Nationals candidate for Dubbo Dugald Saunders said pensioners and seniors with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card in the region will benefit from the initiative.
“The Nationals are committed to taking the pressure off the cost of living,” Mr Saunders said.
“Talking to people across this electorate, the message is clear, it’s tough, which is why the NSW Government has introduced a range of measures to ease the cost of living for seniors in the region.
“Seniors in the big cities can jump on subsidised public transport whenever they like – I think it’s only fair we get something to help seniors with transport too.”
CSU's Associate Professor of Political Science Dominic O'Sullivan believes the Nationals are worried about the Shooters, especially in seats like Orange.
"The Government is still suffering from the consequences of merging local councils and the greyhound racing ban. It has left a negative perception among voters," Professor O'Sullivan said.
"Obviously, the Nationals are trying to make themselves relevant to regional and rural people."
Political pundits are predicting a close competition in next month's election in regional areas, where the Nationals have a strong presence.
The party holds 16 electorates in the NSW Lower House, including Bathurst and Dubbo in the Central West, and seven seats in the Upper House.
The Nationals believe their $250 transport card will benefit 400,000 seniors and aged pensioners in regional NSW.
The party has already announced a new annual $200 energy rebate for self-funded retirees in regional NSW.
Mr Barilaro said travel is a significant household cost faced by those living across rural and regional NSW.
“With further distances to travel, country seniors rely more heavily on their cars and that means more fuel and more money,” he said.
The card will be renewable on an annual basis for two years.