SUPPORT WORKERS: Hervey Bay man Peter Ayoub, 28, is advocating for people living with a disability in Hervey Bay, facing the rising cost of living and how that is impacted by the companion card.
SUPPORT WORKERS: Hervey Bay man Peter Ayoub, 28, is advocating for people living with a disability in Hervey Bay, facing the rising cost of living and how that is impacted by the companion card. Jessica Lamb

CRIPPLING LIVING COSTS: Battlers left with $50 a week

PETER Ayoub dreams of visiting Fraser Island.

It's not a matter of distance - living in Hervey Bay, the 28-year-old is just a boat ride away from the national treasure.

However, Mr Ayoub's cerebral palsy means he can't possibly visit the island without a support worker by his side.

With about $50 left over per week once he has paid for essentials, there is no way Mr Ayoub could afford two tickets to the island.

"My support worker and I have been trying to save up to visit Fraser Island and I probably have $50 left over to save after bills and that's if I don't attend any specialist appointments or go out for coffee," he said.

Mr Ayoub carries a companion card, which allows a person with a disability who needs 'attendant care support' to participate in community activities and attend venues and only pay for one ticket instead of two.

However, in his experience, many businesses, including the Fraser Island barge, do not accept or even know about the card.

"I'm not asking for it for free, I would just like companion cards accepted so it was affordable," he said.

Mr Ayoub claimed he had discussed the possibility of the barge to the island accepting companion cards, only to be told there was a flat rate each time.

However a spokesperson from Fraser Island Barges said the team could make arrangements on a case-by-case basis, via consultation through the reservations centre.

Fraser Coast Tourism and Events general manager Martin Simons said many members in the region accepted companion cards, some with 100 per cent off.

"There appears to be quite low demand for companion cards, one of our larger operators receives only about five companion card requests in a year," he said.

Mr Ayoub said visiting Fraser Island was just one example of the opportunities people with a disability often missed out on.

He said more businesses and venues accepting the companion card would improve quality of life for people like him.

"Living day-to-day, people living with a disability are always doing the same thing and build up stress and things like that," he said.

"I think being able to go for a bush walk on Fraser, it is an opportunity to get back into themselves and let go of the anger and enjoy life a bit better than sitting around at home."



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