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Aged pensioners living in country towns across WA can begin applying for the State Governments $500 fuel card from tomorrow.

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls today launched fuel card scheme in Albany which will allow pensioners in country towns to use the credit on the card either to buy fuel or hire a taxi.

The fuel card, which is expected to cost taxpayers $80 million dollars over the next four years, is a National’s election promise under the Royalties for Regions scheme.

The first $500 card will be valid until June 30 next year and all eligible pensioners can apply for the card by filling in a form at regional post offices. Couples are eligible for one card between them.

Card holders must produce a pensioner concession card when buying fuel at any Motorpass affiliated petrol station or hiring a Cabcharge taxi.

Mr Grylls said the card would help with travel costs for country age pensioners who relied on cars or taxis’ because of limited public transport.

“Age pensioners in regional areas generally do not have access to extensive public transport and fuel is usually more expensive than in the metropolitan area. The fuel card will help country age pensioners meet the additional cost of travel using their own vehicles or taxis,” he said.

The fuel card would be available for regional residents who received an age pension from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Age pensioners did not have to own a car or have a driver’s licence to be eligible.

Any credit left on the card for the 2009-10 financial year would be will be forfeited. Fuel cards will be reissued automatically each July over the next four years.
Robert Taylor http://www.thewest.com.au

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