Travel subsidies to help Western Australians with disabilities have received a $135,000 expansion.
The State Government programs allow people who qualify amongst the estimated 191,000 Western Australians with disabilities, to travel at concessional rates on taxis and country trains and buses.
The $110,000 expansion of the taxi users' subsidy scheme allows people with disabilities, whose only reliable means of transport was taxis, unlimited journeys at a 50 per cent concession. Previously the scheme was restricted to just 100 trips each year. Most of the extra journeys would be for travelling to employment, education or training.
A $25,000 increase to the attendant care travel scheme allows carers travelling with people with a profound disability a 50 per cent discount on Westrail country rail and road passenger services. Previously, only carers of people with a profound disability associated with cerebral palsy, qualified. The scheme has also been expanded to include private inter-town coach services.
Transport Minister Pam Beggs and Disability Services Minister Eric Ripper today jointly announced the travel subsidy expansion which brings the annual cost of the two schemes to nearly $1 million.
Mrs Beggs said the number of Perth's multi-purpose taxis had also been increased. The Government introduced the initiative in September 1991, and 11 privately-owned and operated cabs were now able to transport people confined to wheelchairs.
"People with disabilities rely heavily on public transport to go about their daily lives - much more than members of the general community," Mrs Beggs said.
Mr Ripper said the landmark Disability Services legislation, which took effect on New Year's day, worked to give a fair go to Western Australians with disabilities, including access to community facilities taken for granted by others.
"A $50,000 joint Government-community review of the transport needs of Western Australians with disabilities, is also underway to research services currently offered and identify ways to improve them," he said.
The review involved ACROD, the Lotteries Commission, Department of Transport, Transperth, the Bureau for Disability Services and people with disabilities.