LIFELINE Australia has again rejected claims that $800,000 in funding has been cut from Lifeline Central West (LCW).
Recently elected Member for Orange Philip Donato came into bat for LCW on Thursday claiming the offices in Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo have had huge cuts during the last four years.
He also called on Member for Bathurst Paul Toole and Member for Dubbo Troy Grant to support him in helping to “save Lifeline Central West”.
“I know that deep down Mr Grant and Mr Toole wouldn't really support funding cuts to vital services in their electorates,” Mr Donato said.
“As parliamentary members of the Central West, we need to band together to say that we won't stand for budget and service cuts.
“I certainly won't stand for this in Orange and will continue to fight it.”
But Lifeline Australia (LA) chief executive officer Pete Shmigel says Mr Donato has got it wrong.
There are inaccuracies in Philip Donato’s press release. There have been no cuts and they are not being mooted.Lifeline Australia chief executive officer Pete Shmigel
“There are inaccuracies in Philip Donato’s press release,” he said. “There have been no cuts and they are not being mooted.”
Each year the NSW Government allocates funds to LA which are then distributed out to the charity’s centres across the country.
However, in LA’s own constitution LCW is defined as one centre which operates in Bathurst. The offices in Orange and Dubbo are simply, Mr Shmigel said, other locations where the Bathurst centre operates from.
So, because LCW is classified as one centre, rather than three separate entities, it is forced to share the $100,000 that each LA centre receives annually.
Mr Shmigel said LA’s constitution was agreed to be each of its members, including LCW, in 2012.
“They [LCW] never applied for accreditation for more than one centre,” he said.
“They think they should get a bigger cut of the pie.”
Mr Shmigel said at LA’s board meeting last week, other centres expressed fears their funding would be cut to give extra to LCW.
“If the real issue for LCW is the money, or they have financial problems, or they’ve over-extended their spending, let’s talk about that,” he said.
LCW executive director Alex Ferguson said that lack of funding it receives, for what he said are three individual centres, will mean they will be “lucky to maintain current service levels”.
Representatives from LCW have been invited to be part of an upcoming discussion to asses LA’s constitution.