Imagine if you have a specialist appointment about your knees. They are really making it difficult to get up and down the stairs and you can no longer walk long distances. You can no longer drive. You call your local community transport service well in advance. But, because of Commonwealth funding cuts and exploding operating costs, the hospital shuttles can't take you, and a taxi is too expensive. What do you do?
Easylink is a not-for-profit community organisation that has served Mackellar's elderly and differently-abled people since 1982, providing them with affordable transport so they can live full lives and attend important appointments. Easylink averages 50,000 trips per year. One hundred committed volunteers and staff conduct the trips. Peter Deshon from the Northern Beaches gave the service a five-star rating and said that staff were friendly and helpful and that the service was awesome.
Yet this service, which many in our community depend upon, is at risk. Employment costs are going up. Fuel costs have increased by 80 per cent and insurance costs by 11.5 per cent. At the same time, Commonwealth funding has dropped by six per cent. The future is also uncertain with the design of the new Support at Home scheme proposed by the government. If it is not designed right, it could impact community transport services. This is an opportunity to design a program that helps our most vulnerable. Let's re-fund this service so it can continue its great work.
You can watch the speech here.