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Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Australian Rugby Union and Brumbies reach out to fans with disability

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Joy Burch MLA, ACT Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services

People with disability will find it easier to attend ACT Brumbies and other Australian Rugby Union (ARU) matches, including the Australian Wallabies, after the ARU joined the Brumbies in signing up to the National Companion Card.

The Companion Card Scheme enables eligible people with disability to participate at venues and activities without paying for a second ticket for their attendant carer.

Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Bill Shorten, and ACT Minister for Disability, Joy Burch, today made the announcement with Brumbies coach, Andy Friend, Brumbies player Guy Shepherdson, and Brumbies fan and Companion Card holder Tau Tanielu, and Tau’s Carer, John Brotchie.

“The Australian Government applauds the ARU and the Brumbies for making it easier for rugby fans with a severe disability to attend matches and support their teams,” Mr Shorten said.

“There are some 32,000 card holders across Australia. They and their carers are able to feel more a part of their community through the Companion Card.”

“People with disability have the same right to get out and enjoy a concert or a football game as the rest of the community, and this scheme removes one of the obstacles in their way.”

“The Australian Government has invested $1.8 million towards the Companion Card to enable people with a disability to receive the same entitlements across all states and territories.

“More than 2,700 businesses have thrown their support behind the Companion Card and their collaboration is crucial to its success.

“The ARU joins a growing list of Australian sports and cultural institutions who are making life easier for people with a disability, including: the AFL, Basketball Australia, Tennis Australia, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Reading Cinemas, Circus OZ, Fitness First Australia, Circus Royale, Event Cinemas, Greater Union Cinemas, Birch Carrol and Coyle Cinemas, Musica Viva,and The Australian Ballet.

“I strongly urge all businesses, sporting teams, cultural institutions to join the Companion Card scheme and reach out to people with a disability,” Mr Shorten said.

Ms Burch said the ACT Brumbies was one of the first teams to sign up to the Companion Card program and have shown the way to the ARU and other Super 14 teams.

“The Companion Card assists eligible Canberrans with disability to participate in activities and events without being unfairly charged for the cost of an extra ticket for their attendant carer,” Ms Burch said.

“Since last September when the ACT launched its Companion Card scheme Canberrans who have a disability are getting more and more access to events that others take for granted.

“Over 30 organisations, services, businesses, sporting teams and cultural institutions across the ACT have signed up to the Companion Card, including cinemas, Action Buses, Questacon and the National Gallery,” Ms Burch said.

For more information on the National Companion Card.