Western Australian seniors today celebrated the 20th anniversary of Australia’s first and most generous concession card for older people.
Seniors’ Minister Sue Ellery joined 45 of the first recipients of the WA seniors’ card, including the now 90-year-old original card holder, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel to mark the occasion.
“The WA Government is proud to have been the first in Australia to introduce a seniors’ card as a mark of care and respect for older people in the community,” Ms Ellery said.
“The move was so successful that, one by one, other jurisdictions followed our lead. However, WA’s card remains the most generous, with discounts amounting to $1,500 available to seniors each year.
“The card recognises the important contribution that seniors have made, and continue to make, in our community.”
The Minister said the Taskforce on Community Initiatives for Senior Citizens first identified the need for a concession card in 1986, when there were 130,000 people aged 65 years and over in WA.
“Today there are more than 255,000 seniors’ card holders in the State; 11,000 of whom are aged between 90 and 100 years,” she said.
WA’s first card-holder, Laurel Cheverton, who received her card at the age of 70 from then Labor Premier Peter Dowding, was a special guest at the event today.
“It was an unexpected surprise back then to be rewarded just for being a senior, and an even bigger shock to discover I was the first recipient,” Mrs Cheverton said.
“It is a very worthwhile and handy asset, and a great way to reward the older people in the community for their years of contributions.”
Seniors’ card concessions and discounts include:
· up to 25 per cent rebate on water and electricity fees;
· up to 25 per cent rebate on local council rates and FESA levies;
· 50 per cent rebate on driver’s licence renewals; and
· 50 per cent discount on recreational fishing licence fees;
· discounts on admission to the Art Gallery of WA, Maritime Museum, Western Australian Museum and national parks;
· discounts on tours and accommodation at Rottnest Island;
· 50 per cent discount on TRANSWA regional train and coach travel;
· concession fares on all Transperth services and free travel on Sundays, public holidays and during Bankwest Seniors Week; and
· a range of discounts from about 600 private businesses.
Ms Ellery said the Carpenter Government was committed to caring for and supporting older people in the community.
The Government convened the country’s first Active Ageing taskforce in 2001 and adopted the first Active Ageing strategy three years later, with a funding injection of $3.1million over four years.
The Active Ageing strategy focuses on health and well-being, employment and learning opportunities, community awareness and participation, protection and security, and planning and the built environment.
Minister's office - 9213 7150