Western Australia Minister for Regional Development Brendon Grylls
Western Australia Minister for Transport Simon O’Brien
Fuel Card Scheme Second Year Expansion Set To Benefit 43,000 Country Pensioners
Victor P Taffa
Western Australia Minister for Regional Development Brendon Grylls said today that he was delighted with the success of the Country Age Pension Fuel Card scheme’s first year and announced the expansion of the scheme to include further eligibility categories.
Mr. Grylls said a review of the fuel card earlier this year had recommended four additional semi-rural country postcodes and four additional income support pension categories should be incorporated into the scheme.
“On July 1 this year, semi-rural country postcodes 6124 (Jarrahdale); 6125 (Hopeland, Mardella and Serpentine); 6126 (Keysbrook); and 6211 (Dawesville, Bouvard, Clifton and Herron) will be included in the scheme.” the Minister said.
“The fuel card scheme policy currently includes country pensioners who receive Centrelink Age pension and Department of Veteran’s Affairs Service pension, Social Security Age pension and Income Support Supplement pension.”
“This will also be expanded on July 1 to include country pensioners receiving Centrelink income support pension or benefit categories Widow B, Disability Support, Carer Payment and Wife pension.” Mr. Grylls said.
“An estimated 15,000 additional country pensioners will become eligible as a result of the expansion.
“Following the launch of the Liberal-National Government’s Country Age Pension Fuel Card Scheme in April 2009, more than 28,000 country age pensioners received their cards and experienced the benefits of the scheme.” Mr. Grylls said.
“The State Government has budgeted $112 Million across five financial years to ensure eligible country pensioners receive an ongoing transport subsidy.”
“Feedback received from scheme cardholders provides strong evidence that the $500 a year for fuel or taxi expenditure is delivering significant relief and support to existing cardholders.”
“In the first year, 80 % of the estimated eligible country pensioners applied for a card before applications closed on April 30, 2010.” Mr. Grylls said.
“More than 44 % of applicants had fully expended their card, with $12 Million expended to date on fuel and taxi travel.”
“It is clear this innovative and sound policy has resulted in a win for country pensioners, who have limited access to public transport and are heavily reliant on private vehicle travel to access services.” Mr. Grylls said.
Transport Minister Simon O’Brien said he was very supportive of the scheme that was jointly administered by the departments of Regional Development and Lands; and Transport.
“I would like to commend the fuel card and call centre service provider Retail Decisions, which met all contract performance targets, and transaction provider Australia Post, which provided excellent customer servicing.” Mr. O’Brien said.
“Existing cardholders should receive their new card by July 20 if their pension and country eligibility remains unchanged and their current contact details had not changed.”
“If cardholder name or address details had changed, they should contact the info line 1300 666 609 as soon as possible.” Mr. O’Brien said.
“Newly eligible country pensioners wishing to apply for the first time can obtain fuel card applications from Australia Post outlets on July 1.”
“The expanded scheme will see the card reach up to 43,000 people by the end of the year.” Mr. O’Brien said.