Your Community Transport is at Risk!

By 18/07/2022 August 16th, 2023 No Comments

Over recent months, Connect and other community transport providers individually and collectively through our industry body the Community Transport Organisation Ltd (CTO) have been raising concerns about the Commonwealth’s ‘Support at Home’ program.

The Commonwealth’s ‘Support at Home’ program has been under development for a couple of years now, with a planned introduction from 1 July 2023. It is intended to replace the Commonwealth Home Support Program CHSP (most of Connect clients fall under this scheme), Home Care Packages and the Short – Term Restorative Care Program.

Essentially the Support at Home Program is a ‘fee for service’ model. Clients are preapproved for certain services, say 5 trips per month. Provider delivers a service, perhaps in our case a trip to the shops, then at the end of the month a nationally standard payment is claimed by the service deliverer. On proposed prices this is 5.5% less than what we received in 2021/22. An activity, rather than foundational (or block) funding model, will in our view see the end of community transport services as we know it.

While the bulk of community transport funding in NSW is provided by the Commonwealth, the NSW Government controls these funds. The NSW Government through TfNSW controls CHSP (and other state based) funding for community transport.

Connect General Manager Brett Andrews and CTO CEO Tara Russell were pleased to meet with Jo Haylen, MP Member for Summer Hill, and Shadow Transport spokesperson on 11 July 2022. We discussed community transport generally, issues the sector faces should the Commonwealth’s ‘Support at Home’ program proceed from 1 July 2023, and the sector’s relationship with the NSW Government through TfNSW.

Jo is a strong advocate for women, the elderly and disabled, LGBTIQ people and families, groups that Connect and the community strives to assist every day. As one of Connect’s local state MPs and Shadow Transport spokesperson, Jo was well aware of the vital role community transport providers fill not just in the inner west but across NSW, especially during the Covid19 pandemic and local lockdowns.

Jo recognised that our work providing access to transport and social activities reduces the isolation of older and transport disadvantaged persons within their local community. There was an appreciation of the challenges providers face with sustainable funding and with contracting arrangements that inhibit innovation, investment and accessibility.

We discussed the Community Transport Program scheme at some length, a NSW government funded program to assist the ‘transport disadvantaged.’ This is essentially a discretionary ‘catch – all’ scheme that assists often the most vulnerable in the community, those who fall through the cracks. Jo was most concerned this program is at potentially at risk, rendered essentially undeliverable as a stand – alone service, should the Commonwealth’s ‘Support at Home’ program proceed from 1 July 2023.

Recognising there are endless calls on all levels of Government for more funding, CTO recently partnered with the Australian Health Services Research Institute at the University of Wollongong to propose a sustainable model of funding and contracting for community transport.

We thank Jo Haylen, MP and her staff for making time in their busy schedule to meet with Connect and the CTO. It is encouraging that our efforts, achievements, and our challenges were heard with such generosity and support.

Now… what you can do?

I ask valued clients and supporters to express your support for adequately funded community transport services with your local members, Federal and State.

Connect’s operating area falls mainly within Grayndler represented by The Hon Anthony Albanese, MP, but also within Barton represented The Hon Linda Burney, MP.

Our state members are Jo Haylen, MP Member for Summer Hill; Jenny Leong, MP Member for Newtown; and Jamie Parker, Member for Balmain.


Thank you for your support.

Brett Andrews
General Manager

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