The NSW Nationals in Government have expanded the Regional Seniors Travel Card to help even more people outside the major cities.
More than 100,000 rural and regional seniors have successfully signed up for the new $250 Regional Seniors Travel Card since applications opened on January 29.
NSW Nationals Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said eligible seniors would soon receive their cards, easing the burden of travel costs and injecting more than $25 million into regional economies.
“This is the first time we are rolling out a program like this,” Mr Toole said. “This card puts $250 in the pocket of regional seniors, which can mean an extra few trips to visit grandkids living in other parts of the state, the ease of staying connected locally or the ability to volunteer in local community groups.”
Thousands of rural and regional seniors are applying for the card each day, with the eligibility requirements now widened to include pension-aged veterans collecting a Service Pension or recipients of a War Widow Pension through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“We’ve heard the feedback from the community, which is why we are now including more seniors in the program,” Mr Toole said. “Veterans who are now eligible will be able to apply in the coming months, once we have made the necessary updates to our application system.”
Mr Toole said the rollout of the card followed a pilot in Coffs Harbour, where about 80 seniors had been trialling the pre-loaded Visa card.
“Our Coffs Harbour pilot provided valuable feedback and we responded by adding more information to the website and making minor changes to the application form,” Mr Toole said. “These seniors also told us how easy the card is to use, with participants predominately purchasing fuel, followed by taxi rides, but can also be used to purchase pre-booked TrainLink services.”
NSW Nationals Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said there had already been 2851 applications in the Tamworth Local Government Area, 550 in the Gunnedah LGA, 420 in the Liverpool Plains LGA, and 95 in the Walcha LGA.
“If you live in places like Nundle, Barraba, Werris Creek, Manilla, Bendemeer, Walcha, Mullaley or Tambar Springs, this card can help you put fuel in your car or grab a bus or taxi,” Mr Anderson said.
“We know this card will help strengthen family ties, make it easier to visit specialist health professionals or even just take a break somewhere else. This card is really easy to use, with participants predominately purchasing fuel, followed by taxi rides, but can also be used to purchase pre-booked TrainLink services.”
Eligible seniors have until 30 November to apply for a card in 2020 and 12 months to use their card from activation. Seniors can apply online at service.nsw.gov.au, in person at a Service NSW Service Centre or over the phone on 13 77 88.