Support services offered by the Gippsland Carers Association (GCA) are in doubt due to a failure of the Andrews State Government to provide funding to the organisation.
Nationals Member for Morwell Russell Northe recently facilitated a meeting between the GCA and Shadow Minister for Disability, Tim Bull, where it was outlined that unless funding was reinstated, services to some of the region’s most vulnerable families in need would be severely impacted.
“When in Government the Coalition provided $100,000 to GCA and made another pre-election commitment of $120,000 which would have assisted with the employment of staff, including a carer mentor, who I know has made a lot of difference to the lives of many families who care for persons with disability and special needs,” said Mr Northe.
“This is the sort of service that makes a real difference in our community and it is a disgrace Labor has not only cut the funding, but is not prepared to reconsider its stance, even when the ramifications are outlined.
“This financial year the GCA has struggled through on the back of philanthropic funds and donations, but that is coming to an end and unless the funding is restored in this year’s Budget our local carer families will feel the effects.
“These families have enough on their plates without having their services reduced or lost through State funding cuts. Those who wish to support the push to have funding restored can sign the petition available at my office or copies are available for printing from my website www.russellnorthe.com.au/petitions,” Mr Northe said.
Mr Bull said he had a terrific discussion with the Gippsland Carers group, but unfortunately their future prospects were far from terrific.
“What I heard about is what many of us already know. We have a group made up of dedicated volunteers who contribute many hours to a terrific service, who simply need a small amount of money ($30,000 per annum) to allow them to continue to make a big difference to a lot of families in need.
“It is ironic that with the roll out of the NDIS imminent and a lot of confusion around that, and an Inquiry underway into abuse in disability services, we have a government that has cut funding to a group that was offering so much support and direction to carer families.
“What is more disappointing is the lack of a response of any substance from the Andrews Government and the fact they have cut funding without any concern for impacted families.
“At the least they should have the courage to come to the Gippsland region and meet with the group to hear first-hand what these funding cuts will do to services in this region. They then might realise what a great investment this relatively small amount of money is and what a big difference it was making to a lot of families.
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