About Companion Card
WHAT IS THE COMPANION CARD?
Companion Card is a not-for-profit program, funded by the South Australian Government and managed by the Department of Human Services (DHS) in conjunction with the National Disability Services (NDS).
The card itself is the size of a credit card, with the name and a photo of the holder, who is the person with a disability. When the cardholder buys a ticket for themselves at selected venues and facilities around South Australia, it permits their companion free entry to the same event.
WHAT IS A COMPANION?
A companion can be a partner, family member, friend, volunteer or paid carer.
FAIR TICKETING FOR PEOPLE WHO REQUIRE A CARER
The Companion Card is a South Australian Government initiative. It may be issued to people who have a significant, lifelong disability and will require attendant care for the rest of their life. The Companion Card allows the cardholders carer free entry into participating venues and events, promoting the rights of people with disability to fair ticketing and making access to community functions and events more affordable. Companion Cards are not means tested and once issued, the cardholder will have the card for life.
WHY DID THE COMPANION CARD SCHEME START?
The concept was developed in Victoria in response to concern from people with a disability who found the fees of many entertainment, leisure and recreation venues and activities to be prohibitive when having to be accompanied by a companion.
Moreover, it is unfair and discriminatory for people with significant disability, who cannot manage on their own away from home, to have to pay twice whenever they go somewhere. Once for themselves, and once for their companion.
A person with disability has the same right to participate in community life as a person with no disability. This right is protected under section 66 of the South Australian Equal Opportunities Act 1984 and section 8 of the Commonwealth's Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
To promote the rights of people with a disability to fair ticketing, the South Australian Government started the Companion Card scheme in 2007.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR A COMPANION CARD?
Residents of South Australia who have a significant and permanent disability and who need attendant care support, can apply for a Companion Card.
To be eligible for a Companion Card, the applicant must demonstrate all of the following:
- they are a permanent resident of Australia, residing in South Australia;
- they have a significant and permanent disability;
- that due to the impact of the disability, they would be unable to participate at most community venues and activities without attendant care support; and
- the need for this level of attendant care will be life-long.
Attendant care support means you require significant assistance with mobility, communication, self-care or planning and problem solving where the use of aids, equipment or alternative strategies do not enable you to carry out tasks independently. Attendant care support does not include providing reassurance or encouragement nor can it be for infrequent or unexpected events or medical emergencies.
The Companion Card cannot be issued to people who only require attendant care for social support, reassurance, encouragement or just-in-case-type of scenarios. Nor is it issued to every person who has a disability. The card is issued to people who can demonstrate that they would not be able to participate in activities at most venues without a companion and that this need is life-long.
A Companion Card cannot be issued if the applicant may become independent in the future as a result of treatment or management, training, recovery or developmental improvements. A Companion Card can only be issued when a permanent ongoing need for a companion can be demonstrated.
WHERE CAN I USE THE COMPANION CARD?
Businesses, venues and facilities that accept the Companion Card are called affiliates. There are many affiliates across South Australia and around Australia. All types of places and attractions, from zoos to theme parks, sports stadiums to buses, and trains. You can find the full list of South Australian affiliates on the internet at click here or check the national website, http://www.companioncard.gov.au for interstate affiliates.
HOW DO I USE THE COMPANION CARD?
Simply show your Companion Card when you are booking or buying tickets from an affiliate. If you are booking over the phone, be sure to tell the operator you have a Companion Card before you pay. You will then be given a second ticket for your carer or companion at no charge. If you have booked over the phone, you will need to show your card once you get to the venue.