The Regional Seniors Travel Card is a $250 prepaid VISA card designed to ease the burden of travel costs for eligible seniors in rural, regional and remote areas including the Cootamundra electorate.
Increased funding will allow the card to be extended from 2022 to additional seniors in the regions, including people of Age Pension age who receive either a Disability Pension or a Carers Payment from Services Australia.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said seniors across regional NSW have benefited from the initial two-year travel card trial, with 337,500 cards issued in 2020 and more than 330,000 cards issued to regional seniors so far in 2021.
“It’s great to see the program continue to expand, as it is already having a positive impact for eligible applicants and I’m really glad the initiative is set to continue for two more years,” Ms Cooke said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the card has been an overwhelming success.
“This card has made a big difference to the lives of seniors living in the bush who often have fewer transport options than those living in big cities like Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong – and we’re excited to announce it will be offered again in 2022 and 2023,” Mr Barilaro said.
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the Regional Seniors Travel card has provided a significant boost to businesses across the regions.
“Having an extra $250 in their pocket has made it easier for regional seniors to get to the shops and medical appointments and stay connected locally and with friends and family living in other parts of the State. It’s also injected more than $108 million into regional economies, benefitting local taxi operators and fuel stations,” Mr Toole said.
“We’ve been reviewing the schemes that support people with disability and carers to ensure they meet the needs of those in the regions, including investing in community transport and a new smart card for Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme. We know these groups would also like to be eligible for the Regional Seniors Travel Card and we’re pleased to be able to make that happen as part of the next phase of this program,” Mr Toole said.
“The card can be used for pre-booked NSW Trainlink Regional trains and coaches, fuel and taxis, making travelling more accessible and convenient for our seniors who often have less transport options than those living in the city.”
From 2022, eligible applicants will include seniors of age pension age with:
- A valid Pensioner Concession Card;
- A Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
- A Disability Pension or a Carers Payment from Services Australia
- A Service Pension issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs
- A Disability Pension through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986
- A War Widow Pension issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs
The regional boundaries for applicants will remain the same in 2022. More information about which regional areas are included in this initiative can be found at www.service.nsw.gov.au,
Applications for 2022 cards will open in the New Year for the expanded list of eligible applicants. Applications for the card can be made online at www.service.nsw.gov.au, by calling 13 77 88 or by visiting a Service NSW Service Centre.