On Wednesday 29th October I attended the Neighbour Connections Annual General Meeting and was moved to see yet another community organisation struggling against the odds to make ends meet in the current climate of welfare reform.
Neighbour Connections is a wonderful group of staff and volunteers who work to keep isolated people particularly pensioners and public housing tenants in touch with their neighbours and the world outside their unit doors.
Like so many other community organisations however Neighbour Connections is facing new battles with relocations and the loss of block funding under the My Aged Care reforms which will force the group to introduce fees for their formerly free outings. The changes to aged care which will be introduced in 2016 make the future of essential services like Neighbour Connections very vulnerable and threatened by financial difficulties, tender applications and redtape.
It is incredibly sad to see these community -created and run organisations face such precarious futures when the need for these services will only grow in the future. The group is also starting to work with dementia sufferers which is a growing group in our city, who will need many services to help them survive independently in the future.
I despair of the direction taken by the LNP governments in Australia to the delivery of community services whether its women’s services, homelessness services or aged care they just don’t seem to realise they are dealing with human beings and not with numbers on the bottom of a spreadsheet.