Lifeline Central West has financial woes of its own

A SOLUTION to Lifeline Central West’s (LCW) funding woes appears no closer as the stoush over allocations continues.

In the last four years, LCW has missed out on $800,000 in NSW Government funding, LCW executive director Alex Ferguson says.

This, he says, is because Lifeline Australia (LA) classifies the Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo offices as one centre, rather than separate entities, and as such they are forced to share the annual $100,000 per centre in state government funds.

But, a LA spokesman said all NSW Lifeline members, including the Central West, agreed to this funding model four years ago.

The spokesman said the Bathurst office is the LCC centre, while the Orange and Dubbo offices are additional locations.

“After operating under the same NSW Government funding arrangement agreed to by all NSW Lifeline members in 2012, Lifeline Central West recently raised concerns about Lifeline Australia’s distribution of state government funding based on their large geographic footprint,” the spokesman said.

Our training will be curtailed.

Lifeline Central West's Alex Ferguson

But, Mr Ferguson claims Lifeline’s own constitution proves that Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo are three separate centres.

He said the $100,000 in state government funding, which is administered by LA, should be given to each Central West location annually.

Mr Ferguson said the lack of funds will lead to service consequences in the Central West such as the ability to train new volunteers.

“Our training will be curtailed,” he said.

“We’ve done all this great work to build it up and over time it will shrink,” he said.

The LA spokesman said LCW has been invited to participate in an internal group to address the charity’s national rules regarding centre status.

“We have also offered Lifeline Central West our willingness to work through the centre's specific financial problems,” he said.

On Thursday, a spokeswoman for NSW Mental Health Minister Pru Goward did not respond when asked if the government could provide extra funding to LCW directly or through LA.