Making voices heard: service providers express concerns about funding

Cowra Information and Neighbourhood staff member Danny Jackett with his letter of concern in regards to the NDIS and Commonwealth Home Support Program.
Cowra Information and Neighbourhood staff member Danny Jackett with his letter of concern in regards to the NDIS and Commonwealth Home Support Program.

Cowra Council is set to advocate for a number of service providers in Cowra who have raised concerns about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and proposed changes to the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). 

At the ordinary meeting of Cowra Council in November, councillors were presented with letters from Cowra Information and Neighbourhood Centre and Cowra Special Needs Services which outlined fears funding for the CHSP may be scrapped in 2020 and the challenges faced by those rejected by the NDIS in the community. 

Councillor Bruce Miller said there was a lot of concern in the community about the programs. 

“We need to make the responsible MPs aware of what impact the changes will have on our community,” Cr Miller said. 

“We need to continue to ramp this up and make our voice heard.” 

Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West echoed his colleague’s comments, saying “we need to put our hand up on behalf of our community and lobby as hard as we can”. 

The CHSP, provided through My Aged Care, is made up of services such as Community Transport, Meals on Wheels, Domestic Help/Home Care and Home Modifications. CINC’s Danny Jackett said the uncertainty about CHSP funding is causing a lot of frustration among service providers. 

“We’ve got 12 months to look at how the government is going to do this,” he said. 

Mr Jackett said the removal of any CHSP services will disadvantage elderly clients who wish to remain at home and independent. 

“To remove CHSP services without having alternate support in place will leave a considerable number of the frail aged in the Cowra community at risk and in very challenging circumstances.”

In terms of the NDIS, Mr Jackett said a number of clients at the Centre were rejected and those who were deemed eligible are still working through the process of receiving assistance and support. 

“There is simply nowhere for these people to go to get support,” he said. 

Councillors resolved to write to Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke MP, Minister for Families and Social Services, the Hon. Paul Fletcher and NSW Minister for Disability Services, the Hon. Ray Williams. 

Council will also request a representative from the NDIS speaks to Council and the Access Committee. The Cowra Guardian contacted Mr McCormack and Cowra Special Needs Service for comment.