Pensioner travel concessions and free travel in Australia

I was coming out of my local Woolworths store the other day and a lady asked would I sign her petition. When asked what it was for she said the government has decided to cancel the once a year free travel that pensioners can do anywhere in Australia. I was gobsmacked that this could happen, obviously done on the sly. I signed the petition as they needed 10000 signatures to get it discussed back in parliament and they had 9000 already. I shouldn’t be shocked that the government is doing something sneaky because they do it all the time and only explain themselves when caught out. Has anyone else heard about this?

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‘anywhere in Australia’ is curious since transportation and public transport concessions are state issues. What state are you in?

From Vic

A change during the last few years is that they used to post the vouchers to everyone eligible but now one has to apply.


Sorry I thought it was Australia wide. I’m in NSW and as my pension is not the aged pension I’m not sure I’d qualify (“IF”, I ever desired to travel long distance on public transport), lol. Not fair for the people who would like to travel though.

This may be what was being referred to on the petition?


@Pachy is this the petition in question?

If it is the one you signed you were mislead as:

  • the scheme was a trial and no decision has been made about whether to continue
  • it has been suspended for new registrations but current cards are still working
  • it does not provide travel to anywhere without limit but only up to the value of $250 a year and
  • it is only available in designated rural areas of NSW.

So depending on where you live you might not have ever been eligible.


Thankyou so much for the information, I appreciate it. Have a nice afternoon.


The petition the lady had was just printed out on white paper, no green and gold signage anywhere.

Quite possible. Have a look at the web site I linked to where the graphic came from, it has the text of the petition.

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As I understand it, the NSW government provides aged pensioners in regional areas with $250 on a credit card which can be used for travel, taxis, or fuel. It was introduced because of the lack of cheap, convenient public transport in regional areas, and many pensioners have genuine problems with lack of access to essential services. The Minns government has suspended applications for the card while it is reviewed, and it’s due to be included in Budget discussions in September. State National Party politicians are promoting petitions asking to keep it, and are getting a lot of traction. I suggest that it’s worth supporting, no matter what your politics are.


As an outsider to NSW but ex sometime resident of various parts, the list of eligible NSW regional areas makes interesting reading. It could have simply said, except residents of greater Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. There in there may be little interest.

The challenge for the petitioners may be to explain why they are supportive of the anomalies. EG residents of Lake Macquarie LGA North Ward are within walking distance of Charlestown Square shopping centre. The residents living on the other side of the road are in Newcastle City LGA, 10 minutes from Newcastle city centre. They have access to the same public transport infrastructure with similar convenience. One neighbour receives the extra assistance, the other does not.

Not intended as a criticism of the petition, or intent of the original scheme. Should we be surprised there is a review?

I’ve edited the topic heading title to allow for broader discussion of pensioner travel entitlements. Noted the original post suggestion (which you have recognised was not quite accurate). While some entitlements are specific to NSW or ones states residency, others are reciprocal with other states/territories. EG Seniors, DVA card holders etc. One needs to check carefully on line with the relevant state/territory resource for conditions and eligibility.


Thankyou for your well written, informative post. I signed the petition because it sounded like a decent one to sign (thinking of a friend who may lose access to it if scrapped) as I am not eligible for it myself. I appreciate your knowledge and will pass it on.:blush:


I think these arrangements are made on a state by state basis, and are limited to within state travel.

In the case of NSW I cannot find that limitation in the terms and conditions although rail travel seems to be limited to NSW railways but other expenses are not.

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Under the old system I used the issued Govt Aged pension free blue voucher a few times - It paid my fare to the Vic border. The rest of the journey to Adelaide was at a concession rate. But didn’t Vic’s Premier, Dan Andrews, keep a promise to make VLine travel cheaper for everyone - As of March 23 we can all travel, say, from Melbourne to Albury for $9 or $10. I’ve not done a Vline trip for a while - not tried the new ticketing system.

This page is a poorly designed ‘plan your journey’ but it might be helpful. If you do not know something about terminals/terminus it is not helpful for figuring it out without some ‘footwork’ using their maps. As an example It cannot figure out how to get you from Flinders St Station to Albury - you need to know VLine leaves from Southern Cross from the map. Once you ‘get it right’ it will show fares. Getting to SC from Melbourne metro area is via PTV Metro, a different ‘problem’.

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And this card is deceptively named. It claims to be a ‘Seniors Regional Travel Card’. But that has never been the case at all.

You must hold a PENSION card in order to get this travel card. I know this to the the case because I live in western NSW, I am a ‘Senior’ with a Gold Opal Card and a Low Income Health Care Card because I am not working, but I am not yet of Aged Pension age. I therefore do not qualify for this card.

The constant deception by the LNP as to who qualifies for this card by calling it a “Seniors Regional Travel Card’ when not all seniors are eligible for it, really cheeses me off!

People in the Hunter, as with people in the Blue Mountains and Illawarra are covered by the Opal ticketing system. Which for pensioners, or seniors (they are not always the same thing, btw) means they can travel anywhere within the Opal area for $2.50/day. So you can catch a train from Goulburn to Lithgow or Maitland and anywhere in between for $2.50 for the entire day if you have a pension card, or as a Senior you have a Gold Opal cars.

Yes. Perhaps my observation was not well put, and the point missed. Some of the LGA’s listed as meeting eligibility for the additional travel assistance are in the regions you mention. Others in the same regions missed out. Lake Macquarie City (residents qualify) access the same public transport services provided to Newcastle City (residents do not qualify). The major urban areas of both are adjoining and continue for many kilometres of bus routes.

I used to live in Cardiff in Lake Macquarie City area. It is on the main railway service to Sydney and closer to Broadmeadow Railway Station than many of our friends who lived across the city line in Newcastle. If I was there now in Cardiff I’d have had access to the additional travel benefits. If I’d moved one suburb towards Newcastle I would not have. Hardly a fair outcome. It suggests the original scheme was not well thought through. Perhaps if the scheme is more astutely applied it would be less costly to government while still delivering benefit to more remote regions?

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