Affiliate Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Companion Card?
- The Companion Card allows people with a severe or profound disability, who require lifelong attendant care at events and venues, to participate without having to pay for a second ticket for their companion.
- The card features a photograph of the Card Holder and is presented when booking or purchasing a ticket at events.
- The participating venue or service will issue the Card Holder with a second ticket for their essential support companion at no extra charge.
Why was the Companion Card developed?
The Companion Card was developed to remove one of the financial barriers for people with disability and increase social inclusion.
People with a disability, who require attendant care support, are often required to pay two admission and/or booking fees; one for themselves and one for their companion. This has the effect of increasing the admission for the person with a disability and decreasing their social inclusion.
Who is eligible?
The Companion Card is not for everyone with a disability.
It is for people with a life-long, severe or profound and permanent disability who are unable to participate in most community activities without attendant care support.
What is attendant care type support?
Attendant care type support includes significant assistance required with mobility, communication, self-care, or learning, planning, where the use of aids, equipment or alternative strategies do not enable the person to carry out these tasks independently.
The card is only provided to people if their level of support is life-long and they meet all of the eligibility criteria.
Who is a companion?
Anyone who provides essential attendant care support to a person with a significant and permanent disability.
The Card holder will not always use the same companion.
What does attendant care support not include?
The card is not provided to people who only require social support, assurance or encouragement.
Are there age limits on who can apply for a Companion Card?
No. However, generally children up to a certain age require a parent or supervisor to perform functions similar to that of a companion. The card can only be issued to a child applicant where the companion is required due to the disability and not due to age alone.
Where is the Companion Card available?
The Companion Card scheme is now operational in all States and Territories.
Can the card be used all over Australia?
Yes. All States and Territories cards are recognised and can be used by a cardholder at any participating affiliate across the country.
Do all cards look the same?
Yes. There is consistent branding and security features. Please contact the Companion Card facilitators in your State/Territory for a copy of the Card Security Features Flyer.
What if no entry fee is charged to Companion Card cardholders?
If there is no charge to the Companion Card cardholder, the venue is not expected to issue a free ticket to the carer. For example, at venues where young children are not charged for entry, a free ticket is unlikely to be issued to an adult accompanying a baby who is a Companion Card cardholder, as the premise of the program is that a person is only required to pay the cost of one person’s entry and not for two people. Similarly, the holders of other cards, such as a War Widows Card, are entitled to free tickets at some venues, so it would not be expected that the venue will issue an additional free ticket to the attendant carer if a Companion Card is also presented.
Is an Affiliate able to withdraw from the program if they wish to do so?
There is no expiry date for affiliation; it is ongoing. If an affiliate organisation decides, after affiliating to the program, that they no longer wish to accept the Companion Card, they should write to the Companion Card program stating their intention to withdraw their affiliation. The organisation will then be removed from the Companion Card Affiliate database. It is important to remember that the disability anti-discrimination legislation applies to your organisation regardless of whether or not you are a registered affiliate.
If you are a national affiliate, you should write to:
National Companion Card Scheme
Disability and Carers Program Branch
Reply Paid 7576
CANBERRA ACT 2610
If you are State/Territory affiliate, please contact your local Companion Card office. Contact details are available in the Information for Affiliates section of this website.
What risk is there of misuse of the Companion Card?
The potential for misuse of the Companion Card has been minimised by a robust application process that ensures the Companion Card reaches its intended target group.
Some features of the process include:
- All applicants must have a relevant professional person sign their application form to declare that the information on the application form is correct. The professionals who can sign a Companion Card Cardholder Application Form are drawn from the following:
- A Small group of specialist health professionals who are deemed to be suitable to assess applicants against the eligibility requirements for the Companion Card. These professionals are specified in the Companion Card Cardholder Application Form
- Program managers of a small group of specialist services that have eligibility requirements matching those of the Companion Card program. These services are specified in the Companion Card Cardholder Application Form.
- It is an offence for the applicant or professional to provide false or misleading information in an application.
- All applications are individually assessed
- Cardholders are required to renew their Companion Card every ten years.
The renewal period is based on:
- The physical life expectancy (wear and tear) of the card
- The requirement for photographs to remain reflective of the cardholder’s appearance.
The Companion Card incorporates the same polymer technology that is used to produce Australia’s ‘plastic’ banknotes. This makes the card virtually impossible to accurately reproduce. The Companion Card program was the first in Australia to utilise this technology to provide advanced forgery protection for a card that is intended for public circulation.
The card has been designed with a number of other security features. Affiliates can use these to verify cardholder information when taking telephone bookings and distributing tickets. Organisations can choose if or how they wish to incorporate these security features into their ticketing policies and practices. Full details of these features are available in the Companion Card Security Features brochure.
What do I do if I suspect misuse of the card?
If Affiliates have a complaint regarding alleged misuse of a Companion Card, they should note the card details and lodge the complaint directly with the State Companion Card office where card was issued. Contact details for each State/Territory can be found in the Information for Affiliates section of this website.
How are complaints/grievances from Card holders managed?
Cardholders who have a complaint about the recognition of their Companion Card at a venue or activity are directed to attempt to resolve the issue with the venue or activity management in the first instance. If it cannot be resolved they are advised to contact the relevant State/Territory Companion Card office who will investigate the report. Contact details for each State/Territory can be found in the Information for Affiliates section of this website.