Starting in mid-2023, the federal government may stop funding subsidies to licensed community transportation providers.
For Penrith-based Active Care Network, this could be a death sentence for community transport services.
“Some of the implications are that we will have to reduce the service area we provide, reduce the number of services and we will have to reduce costs or pass the costs on to customers,” CEO Ben Jackson said.
“With the changes that are being proposed, it’s going to keep older Australians isolated.”
Currently, a round-trip to the shops costs $11, but this supplier fears this could double the cost of living increase.
“Having it reasonably priced means we can be worry-free,” said Vallerie, a community bus customer.
Community transportation is a lifeline for seniors seeking independence to meet their daily needs after they stop driving.
“My family doesn’t live near me,” said Joy Barton, a community bus customer.
“My legs are not the best, the shuttle picks me up at the door, carries my bags, it helps a lot.”
“We need it, we can’t get there, we can’t afford a taxi, they help us on the bus, we don’t feel alone,” added Vallerie.
Since the new funding model was proposed, there has been a change of government and the community transportation network is now hoping that the door is not closed to further negotiations.
In a statement to 9News, the Department of Aged Care said it consulted widely with community transport providers.
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