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Hands off our wheels! – stop messing with community transport funding.

A large convoy of community transport buses, carrying disgruntled seniors is on its way to Scott Morrison’s home electorate of Cook on 16 May 2022.

These passionate people are protesting the proposed changes in aged-care funding, which could see the end to their community transport service and ultimately their independence. They come from seven different Local Government Areas, to deliver the message straight to the Prime Minister – hands off our wheels!

Ben Jackson, CEO Active Care Network, says that each day, across Australia, community transport service providers help disadvantaged, vulnerable and elderly people access essential, support and social services.

“My community transport service picks me up directly from my home, the drivers provide me with some elbow assistance and support, getting me safely to my appointment and back again,” said Dorothy Gee of Wentworth Falls.

“Because of community transport, I have been able to stay in my own home, and I don’t have to rely on family or friends to drive me. I have the confidence to keep active and social.” Said Karin W of Heathcote.

Greg Stanger, General Manager of Activus Transport says community transport is more than just a transport service, it focuses on the individual providing safe, affordable trips – helping those who cannot use public transport. “Our seniors are angry – angry that their services will change, will be more expensive or even cease to exist, under proposed changes in the current Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) which is block funded to deliver services to as many people as possible. This is compared to the new proposed Support at Home Program which will see community transport sector funding changed putting community transport services at risk” Mr Stanger said. Community transport providers say that the Australian Government is yet to reveal how much non-profit community transport service providers will be paid per trip. This unit pricing could be well below what it costs to deliver the service and there will be one price despite how many kilometres are travelled, or how much time a trip takes.

“Every community transport service in Australia has been successfully block-funded under CHSP, since its inception and it is this model that has been recommended by the Aged Care Royal Commission.” said Brett Andrews, CEO, Connect Inner West. “The Support at Home program will push costs back onto communities, putting more financial pressure on our providers to pass costs on to users.” said Dorothy Gee of Wentworth Falls.

We are urging the Australian Government to:

1. Continue block funding until such time as a sustainable alternative can be agreed upon

2. Listen to what impact the changes will inflict on the community

3. Build a funding model which is holistic, and worthy of the Australians who need support to remain independent and able to access their communities through this vital type of transport.