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Here’s all you need to know about the Companion Card Scheme

Two friends in a café drinking coffee in summer, the man sitting in wheelchair

The Companion Card is a great way to save some money when you’re getting out and about and require the assistance of another person. But it’s not a scheme that’s designed for everyone with a disability. We found out more about the scheme to discover out who can benefit and how eligible participants can make the most of it.

The Companion Card was first introduced by the Victorian Government in 2003 as a response to concerns that pricing policies of some entertainment, leisure and recreation venues were discriminatory against people with disability. It has now been gradually implemented around Australia with each state and territory running its own scheme. Nathan, a Customer Engagement Specialist at Mable, has previously worked with Companion Card NSW and shared some insight about the scheme. 

What are the common misconceptions that people have about the use of the Companion Card?

“One of the most common misconceptions is that the card is for everyone with a disability. The card is for people that have a profound disability and that have a lifelong need for an attendant or carer to access the community. This is a small section of the disability community.That means that if you have a disability which is temporary, or episodic, you may not be eligible for the card.”

Can any companion use my card even if they are not my support worker? 

“The Companion Card is for the person with the disability, this means that the person who provides support to them when they access venues and events, receives free entry at participants’ businesses. This ‘companion’ could be a support worker, family member or friend of the cardholder.”

Is it compulsory for organisations to accept companion cards? 

“Whilst it is encouraged that businesses participate in the program, in NSW for example, it is not compulsory for businesses to participate with the program. However, by not accepting the Card, businesses could potentially be in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act.”

Can I travel and use my Companion Card?

“While there is no national Companion Card, the National Scheme was introduced to ensure Companion Card cardholders are able to use their card at participating ‘affiliated’ businesses across the country when on holidays or travelling. If a cardholder permanently moves to reside in another state or territory then they will need to apply for a new Companion Card from the State/Territory in which they now reside.”

You can find a list of the organisations participating nationally here – or for events and venues closer to home, check on your state or territory website.

Information about eligibility and how to apply can also be found at the following links. 
ACT – Phone: (02) 6205 4333
New South Wales – Phone: 1800 893 044
Victoria – Phone: 1800 650 611
South Australia – Phone: 1800 667 110
Northern Territory – Phone: 1800 139 656
Tasmania – Phone: 1800 009 501
Queensland – Phone: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)
Western Australia – Phone: 1800 617 337

Looking for support to get out and about? Use your NDIS funding to find and choose independent support workers that you click with via Mable. Search the profiles of workers offering services in your neighbourhood today.

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