The Nationals WA have called on the State Government to roll over any unspent funds on the Country Age Pension Fuel Card (CAPFC) at the end of this financial year.
Member for Central Wheatbelt Mia Davies MLA said The Nationals WA had written to the State Government requesting cardholders with unspent value at the end of the financial year to have the amount automatically added to their 2020-21 cards.
“Due to social distancing requirements and travel restrictions, many regional CAPFC holders will be unable to expend the full value of their fuel cards this financial year,” Ms Davies said.
“Many of these card holders will be playing their part in the fight against COVID-19 by staying at home and adhering to health advice on socialising and travel, which we encourage and applaud.
“However, this means many cardholders will not expend their $575 values and lose any unspent credit at the end of the financial year.”
Ms Davies said rolling over unspent fuel card values would also assist pensioners struggling with inappropriately high fuel prices in the regions.
“While the State Government has distanced itself from addressing the unfair petrol price situation, most regional residents are still paying at least 30c per litre more than metropolitan residents,” she said.
“Regional pensioners have already been hit hard this year with inflated prices on groceries due to COVID-19, and any assistance the State Government can provide to counteract unreasonable petrol pricing should be considered.”
Leader Mia Davies said the Country Age Pension Fuel Card was developed and implemented by The Nationals WA in Government and funded through Royalties for Regions.
“This program provides eligible pensioners with $575 each year towards the cost of fuel and taxi transport, in recognition of the fact that pensioners in the metro area have access to free public transport which is simply not available in our regions,” Ms Davies said.
Member for the Agricultural Region Martin Aldridge MLC said “The CAPFC helps to keep people connected and active in their communities, allowing them to attend medical appointments, go grocery shopping or visit family members.”
Mr Aldridge said in previous years the CAPFC underspend was around 8 per cent, but it was likely to be much higher this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“By rolling over the unspent value of the CAPFC some cardholders might just have a little bit more money in their pockets to support local businesses and stimulate local economies.”