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Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Call for more organisations to join Companion Card Scheme

Joint Media Release with:

  • Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

The Minister for Community Services, Jenny Macklin, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Bill Shorten, today called on more Australian organisations to join the National Companion Card scheme to help make entertainment, sport and recreational activities more accessible to people with disability.

Ms Macklin and Mr Shorten joined with representatives from the Australian Ballet, Basketball Australia, Netball Australia, Hockey Australia, the Australian Football League and the YMCA in Melbourne to raise awareness of the National Companion Card Scheme.

Ms Macklin said the scheme, launched in December 2009, now had 26 national affiliates who provided Companion Card holders with access to over 1,700 venues, 400 events and 17 tournaments or fixtures across the country without charging for their companion.

Mr Shorten said the Companion Card Scheme provided people with a severe disability two tickets for the price of one, so they were able to bring along a carer for free.

He said there were still many organisations that were not members, and urged them to consider signing up for the Companion Card.

‘People with severe disabilities shouldn’t stay shut in at home. They have the same right to get out and enjoy a concert or a football game as the rest of the community,’ Mr Shorten said.

‘On top of the issues of access and transport they face, they are often unable to afford to pay for a companion to accompany them, and this scheme removes that financial hurdle.’

Ms Macklin and Mr Shorten congratulated the scheme’s affiliates for coming on board in a combined effort to help lighten the load on people with disability.

‘It is great to see big-ticket organisations like the AFL, V8 Supercars, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Australian Ballet – among many others – getting involved in a program that will make their events more readily available to people with disability,’ Mr Shorten said.

‘Affiliates make a contribution to including people with disability, and gain new fans for their events.’

With the Companion Card now in use Australia-wide, eligible people with disability can have their companions accompany them to events and activities at over 4,200 participating organisations across Australia – all at no extra charge.

There are now 37,000 Companion Card holders Australia-wide and, with NSW and Queensland having only launched their state programs in mid 2009, this number is expected to continue growing.

For more information visit Companion card website