The Nationals WA will boost the Country Age Pension Fuel Card if returned to Government in March 2021.
Making the commitment in Albany today, Leader Mia Davies said $20 million of Royalties for Regions funding would be committed to boosting card values from $575 to $600 and re-linking it to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from July 2021.
“The Country Age Pension Fuel Card supports regional pensioners, including age pensioners and people with disabilities, to remain active and involved in their communities,” Ms Davies said.
“It enables recipients to travel to medical appointments, attend community events, participate in recreational activities and visit family and friends more easily.
“Our commitment recognises that regional pensioners continue to go without access to subsidised or free public transport enjoyed in the city and brings card values up to a level that reflects a fair increase since the Labor Government made cuts in 2017.
“It will help more than 55,000 card holders get out and about in their communities more – which after months of COVID-19 restrictions is more important than ever.”
Ms Davies said there were more than 5000 card holders in Albany benefitting from the scheme.
The Nationals WA developed and delivered the policy in 2009 in recognition of the fact regional pensioners often face higher fuel and taxi charges and have limited or no public transport options.
Analysis of fuel prices has shown regional motorists continue to pay more at the bowser than those in the city and access to public transport is either constrained or non-existent.
Ms Davies said The Nationals WA continued to support vulnerable members of regional communities.
“Back in 2017 The Nationals responded strongly to the Labor Government’s move to cut CPI indexation and called for the decision to be reversed,” she said.
“We also called on the government to rollover unspent fuel card balances that had accrued this financial year as a result of travel and socialisation restrictions.
“Both of those requests were rejected, but The Nationals WA are prepared to fairly support regional pensioners and make sure they remain as connected to their communities as possible.”
Ms Davies said The Nationals WA would also replace the issue of annual cards with a permanent card, saving an estimated $2.3 million in production and distribution costs, as well as allowing for the immediate recharge of card values each financial year.