Home care budget cuts ‘drastically’ affect disabled

DISABLED Bendigo residents and their carers are worried by funding cuts made to services by the state government. 

Wilf and Fay Alcock have cared for their 55-year-old son, Rodney, who has cerebral palsy and autism, since he was born.

Mr Alcock said the cuts, which stripped $137,016 from the City of Greater Bendigo’s Home and Community Care Services budget, had drastically affected his son. 

“Being a person with a disability, they get very ritualised, everything’s got to be at the same time. Two carers come whereas before he only had one,” he said. “They come early, which means he’s in bed earlier and getting up earlier... he’s out of routine.”

Mr Alcock said they now had to pay for taxi fares for Rodney’s day trips. 

“We can’t fault the council contribution to Rod’s care, it’s been marvellous,” he said. “But it’s been thrown into disarray and there are a lot of people in the same situation.”

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said the cuts, which total 2 per cent of the state’s shared contribution to the service, were affecting the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the community. 

“The cuts to the Home and Community Care service across Victoria, $10 million across the state, will impact on the City of Greater Bendigo’s ability to deliver these services for the aged, disadvantaged and the disabled,” she said. 

“It’s imperative that these services continue. 

But a spokesperson for Minister for Health David Davis noted the services were paid by state and federal governments and said the funding would actually increase. 

“The City of Greater Bendigo will receive record funding of $5.867 million in 2012-13, an increase from $5.781 million in 2011-12,” the spokesperson said. 

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