Tuesday, 17 April 2018
The fruit & vege charity we use has had it's funding cut to fund the NDIS
Got a phone call earlier today from the community centre that runs the fruit and vegetable deliveries that we get once every week off them. A big box full for only $12. Being on a disability pension with all my ailments that it includes means I qualify for it. They get audited regularly by the gov, with forms sent to me by the community centre to fill out, to make sure everyone getting this service is still eligible for it. There's never been a problem, and it provides good fresh fruit and veges bought at local markets wholesale and distributed to those of us who rely on it. Believe me, paying 60% of what we get in rent we need every bit of help we can get. Plus they deliver to our door.
At the start it was Centrelink that told us to get help from charity if we were having problems. Yes, you read that right, Centrelink told us to see a charity (apparently that's my thanks for 30yrs of full time work paying tax through the nose). And so I did, organising this through the food distribution network that operates through a number of community centres. It has been a valuable service helping enormously in keeping our food bill down and giving us access to the best quality local produce. Nothing like the stuff shipped interstate that you find at the grocery store. Such a thing is needed for someone like me on a limited income to stay relatively healthy in the face of various ongoing serious health issues.
Back to today's phone call. The very apologetic head of the community centre (I said it wasn't her fault) informed me that the rules had changed for access to this service, because the gov was cutting funding to it and putting that funding into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). To get the $12 box of fruit and veges now you have to be over 65, which takes nothing into account of people like me who live with chronic illness and poverty. Evidently the gov thinks that anyone under 65 doesn't need this service.
So the only way to keep the service still going the community centre has had no choice but to raise the price of the box of fruit and veges from $12 for each to $20 each. Or from $24 from my fortnightly pension to $40. Absolutely impossible. It doesn't start to the end of June, so I said after that we'll have to go to one box a fortnight instead of every week. I explained our situation that we're getting a $30 a fortnight rent increase at the end of this month which any pension increases just doesn't cover (been on Housing waiting list for about 4yrs now) so the money has to come from somewhere. There's just no way to sustain a 40% or so increase in this service.
I guess you could say we've had to cut back on food because the gov has cut funding to the charity service. We'd have managed the rent increase and still been able to pay the same price for fruit and veges, but from $24 to $40 was just ridiculous and impossible.
The community centre involved is even struggling to keep the service going, as the lady said there's going to be a lot of people cancelling it. It would be a real shame if that happened. We've gotten to know the delivery people who've taken a strong interest in us and our situation. They may lose their jobs I guess if the whole service collapses.
Looking at the overall picture, this is a story on the ground of what this gov is doing to us poor and ill. Cutting services that we rely on whilst wanting to give $65 billion in tax cuts to rich corporations that pay no tax anyway.
They're also too tight to fund the NDIS properly as was designed under the Gillard gov who introduced it. They're ripping money out of needed charities instead of additional funding provided by the gov. What a bunch of assholes.