Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Revised Government Offer to Bring Down the Cost of Interstate Travel for Seniors

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today called on state and territory governments to accept a revised Australian Government offer that would provide State Seniors Card holders access to public transport concessions when they travel interstate.

Senator Patterson said, building on a commitment made in the 2001 election, the Australian Government committed $25.5 million over four years in the 2002-03 Budget to assist state and territory governments to offer concessional fares on public transport for State Seniors Card holders travelling outside their home state.

“Currently, in most states and territories, public transport concessions available to State Seniors Card holders are only available to card holders in their home state.

“For some time now the Australian Government has worked closely with state and territory governments to explore the possibilities of providing public transport concessions to card holders travelling interstate,” Senator Patterson said.

“I have written to state and territory governments with a revised offer which will provide states and territories with more flexibility in applying the benefits to visiting seniors.

“If agreed, State Seniors Card holders travelling outside their home state will be able to access a minimum 35 per cent discount on public transport fares in areas nominated by the state or territory government.

“There are more than 2.3 million State Seniors Card holders in Australia.

“Offering seniors access to discounted public transport while interstate is just one way we can recognise and acknowledge the contribution our self funded retirees and seniors have made, and continue to make, to the Australian economy.

“I encourage state and territory governments to look closely at the flow on benefits for their economies as well as taking the opportunity to reward our seniors.”