Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Infrastructure Matters

Free public transport for family carers

Liberal Statement

From May 1, 2013, a Liberal Government if re-elected would provide free travel on any Transperth bus, train or ferry during off-peak periods for more than 8,500 West Australians who care for a family member or friend with mental illness, disability or a frail senior.

Premier Colin Barnett joined Mental Health and Disability Services Minister Helen Morton at the launch of Carers WA’s new resource pack to announce eligible carers would travel free between 9am and 3.30pm on weekdays and free all day at weekends and on public holidays.

In recognition of the tireless work of family carers, a Carers SmartRider will be offered to those with a Carers Health Care Card and receiving the Commonwealth Carer Payment, Carer Allowance, Carer Supplement or Child Disability Assistance Payment.

Mr Barnett said the Carers SmartRider would ensure that carers would not be out of pocket when travelling.

“It is only fair that people who selflessly care for our most vulnerable people are not spending their own money on our public transport system,” the Premier said.

“We know that most carers are family members who take time off work to care for their loved one and this is one financial incentive to thank them for their incredible work.”

Mrs Morton said people with disability, mental illness or frail seniors often relied on carers to accompany them on public transport, providing support in this and many aspects of their life.

“Public transport can be a lifeline to this community, to assist in employment, training opportunities, shopping, attending movies and they frequently have carers with them,” she said.

“Family and carers provide the unconditional love that no Government can match and often find their roles rewarding so it is important they get as much help as possible to undertake that work.”

Mr Barnett said the Liberal National Government already introduced the successful free off-peak travel to seniors and disability support pensioners in 2009, with 28 million boardings saving eligible travellers more than $18million.

“By giving carers free travel in off-peak times, we expect demand during peak periods to decrease, while providing peace of mind to carers to enjoy the State’s clean, efficient public transport system without the financial cost,” he said.

Eligible carers would need to provide evidence of their Commonwealth carers’ payments when applying for the Carers SmartRider through Transperth.

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