A large convoy of community transport buses carrying disgruntled seniors took to the road during the federal election campaign protesting the proposed changes in aged-care funding.
They fear proposed changes would see the end of their community transport service and ultimately their independence.
Engadine-based Activus Transport general manager, Greg Stanger said community transport is more than just a transport service.
"It focuses on the individual, providing safe and affordable trips, helping those who cannot use public transport," he said.
"Our seniors are angry," he said. "Angry that their services will change, will be more expensive or even cease to exist, under proposed changes to 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.
Heathcote pensioner Karin W said community transport has kept her independent, active and involved.
"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," she said.
"I have the confidence to keep active and social."
Active Care Network chief executive ,Ben Jackson said 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.
Community transport providers said 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.
The community transport providers 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.
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