On this page:
- About the Companion Card
- Why has the Companion Card been developed
- Who is eligible for the Companion Card
- Who is a Companion
- How to apply for a Companion Card
- Assessment of applications
- Card features and security
- Using a Companion Card
- Card Holder concerns
The Companion Card enables people with disability who require lifelong attendant care support from a companion to participate in identified activities without incurring the cost of a second ticket for their companion.
The program aims to:
- support greater social inclusion for people with disability and their carers
- provide businesses with a practical way to meet some of their obligations under anti-discrimination legislation
Card holders present their card when booking or purchasing a ticket from a participating business. Participating businesses will recognise the Companion Card and issue the cardholder with a second 'companion ticket' for their companion at no charge. The companion ticket is also exempt from all booking fees.
Note: Acceptance of the Companion Card does not indicate that a venue/activity is accessible. Card holders should check accessibility with the venue/activity operator before booking tickets.
The Companion Card program was first introduced by the Victorian Government in 2003 as a response to concerns from people with disability that the pricing policies of some entertainment, leisure and recreation venues were discriminatory.
It was considered unfair to require people with disability to purchase two tickets - one for themselves and another for their companion - when, without the support of the companion, they would not be able to visit the venue or participate in the event.
The NT Government is committed to ensuring people with disability have the opportunity to participate equally in community life and has adopted the Companion Card program as a further way of upholding this right.
The program is also a practical way of supporting carers of people with disability. It may assist carers when advocating on behalf of the person with disability to not incur the cost of an additional ticket. The Companion Card may also ease some of the additional costs incurred while undertaking their caring role.
The NT Companion Card Scheme is an initiative of the NT Government administered by the NT Department of Health and Families.
To be eligible for an NT Companion Card you must demonstrate that you:
- are living in the NT; and
- have a permanent disability; and
- because of the impact of your disability, you are unable to participate at most community venues or activities without attendant care support; and
- you need, or are likely to need, lifelong attendant care support.
The card will only be issued if you meet ALL the criteria for the program.
The Companion Card is issued in the name of the person who has the disability. Carers and service providers are not eligible to apply for a Companion Card.
There are no income or asset tests, or fees associated with the application process.
The Companion Card is not issued to every person who has a disability.
There may be circumstances where an individual may use the support of a companion but will not qualify to receive a Companion Card. Examples include:
- a person who is experiencing a temporary impairment
- a person whose expected development or recovery may mean that they will not require lifelong attendant care support
- a person who is affected by the inaccessibility of a particular venue
- a person who chooses to have a companion to provide social company or reassurance
- a person who chooses to have a companion rather than use available aids, equipment or alternative strategies to access a venue or activity
The Companion Card program must be advised of any changes affecting a card holder's eligibility.
It is the responsibility of the operators of venues and activities to consider all requests for companion tickets. If a person who does not hold a Companion Card requests a companion ticket, the operator may negotiate alternative methods to verify the person's need for attendant care support.
A companion is any person who accompanies a card holder for the purpose of providing significant attendant care support.
The card holder's chosen companion may be a paid or unpaid assistant or carer, friend, family member or partner. The card holder's companion will not necessarily be the same person each time.
Attendant care support includes significant assistance with mobility, communication, or learning, where the use of aids, equipment or alternative strategies does not enable the person to carry out these tasks independently. The need for attendant care support must be, or is likely to be, lifelong.
It does not include the companion providing only social company, reassurance or encouragement.
To apply for a Companion Card, contact the NT Companion Card program on 1800 139 656.
The Companion Card Application Form is also available here.
The NT Government will assess each application against the four eligibility criteria for the Companion Card program.
If more information is needed to process applications, the Companion Card program may contact the applicant (or authorised contact) to ask for additional information.
All persons applying for a Companion Card will be notified of the outcome of the application in writing.
Please note that completion of an application form does not guarantee a Companion Card will be issued.
Unsuccessful applications and the review process
Unsuccessful applicants will be informed about their rights to review and the processes and timeframes involved.
Any person who is not satisfied with the outcome of his or her application may request a review.
Companion Cards are issued for five years to approved applicants. The card is issued in the name of the person with the disability for his or her use only.
The Companion Card includes the card holder's name, card number, card expiry date, as well as a photograph of the card holder.
The card incorporates a number of security features that are provided to businesses affiliated with the program. Affiliates may be able to use these features to verify card holder information when taking telephone bookings or issuing tickets.
Card holders must renew their cards periodically. Card holders must also advise the program of a change in their circumstances that may affect their eligibility to hold a card.
The card remains the property of the Companion Card program and a card will be cancelled if a card holder's eligibility is no longer maintained. Misuse of a Companion Card may also lead to cancellation.
The Card Holder Terms and Conditions provide full details about how to use your Card.
You must present your Companion Card when booking or buying a ticket from a participating business ("affiliate"). Affiliates will issue you with a second 'companion ticket' for your companion at no charge. The companion ticket is also exempt from all booking fees.
If you book your ticket over the telephone, you must tell the operator that you require a companion ticket. You may need to provide your name, your Companion Card number and the card expiry date.
You may be required to show your Companion Card when purchasing or collecting tickets, or at any time during your attendance at a venue or activity. If you cannot present your card, you may be charged for the companion ticket. The companion ticket is not valid unless the card holder is present. Only the person whose photograph and name appear on the card may use the Companion Card.
If you require more than one companion, you must negotiate this with the business affiliate at the time of booking.
How to use your card appropriately
The success and expansion of the Companion Card is dependent upon the good will of both card holders and affiliates. Attempts to use the Companion Card when a companion is not required may jeopardise the willingness of businesses to participate in the program.
You should only use your Companion Card when you require the assistance of a companion to participate at a particular venue or activity. If you previously attended a venue or activity independently, this arrangement should continue, unchanged.
Attempts to misuse the Companion Card can result in card cancellation.
Where can I use the Companion Card?
Look for the distinctive Companion Card logo displayed by affiliates at the entrance of business premises or on their promotional and advertising material.
NT-based businesses, venues and events that have formally agreed to accept the Companion Card are listed here.
You can also use your card interstate. Information on interstate programs and participating businesses operating throughout Australia is available on the National Companion Card website.
If there is a venue or activity that you wish to attend, it is your responsibility to check with the venue, at the time of booking your tickets, if they will accept your Companion Card.
Some venue/activity operators may not know about the Companion Card (or may not display the logo), but may still accept your card if it is presented or when informed about the program. If a venue or activity operator needs more information, or would like to affiliate with the program, they can contact the Companion Card program via the website address and telephone number shown on the back of the card. By raising awareness in this way, it is hoped that more businesses will affiliate with the program.
Card holders may request a replacement Companion Card prior to the expiry date if the card is lost, stolen or damaged, or they have changed their name. If required, photographs may also be updated.
To request a replacement card, please contact the NT Companion Card Scheme by calling 1800 139 656 or emailing [click here to send email]
Change of contact details
Card holders may update their address details or telephone number by calling 1800 139 656 or emailing [click here to send email]
NT Companion Cards are issued for five years to approved applicants. The card is issued in the name of the person with the disability for his or her use only. The card expiry date is printed on the front of the card.
Card holders will receive a reminder letter ahead of the expiry date with advice on the renewal process. As part of the renewal process, card holders will be required to confirm their ongoing need for the Companion Card. Card holders are also required to provide new photographs when renewing their card.
Cancelling a card
Where a change in circumstances means that a card holder is no longer eligible for a Companion Card (e.g. death, change in medical condition, moving interstate) a card may be cancelled by calling 1800 139 656 or emailing [click here to send email]
Card holders who have a complaint about recognition of their Companion Card are encouraged to resolve the issue with the venue or activity management in the first instance before contacting the NT Companion Card program.
Affiliated businesses are encouraged to develop their own complaints procedure to manage issues relating to the Companion Card.