Lifeline Australia CEO says Philip Donato got it wrong

Lifeline Australia chief executive officer Pete Shmigel.

Lifeline Australia chief executive officer Pete Shmigel.

LIFELINE Australia has again rejected claims $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 had borne the brunt of the shortfall in the past 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.

“We need to band together to say that we won't stand for budget and service cuts.”

Mr Donato said the organisation’s constitution had to be amended so the centres were counted separately and did not have to share the $100,000 Lifeline Australia (LA) supplied every year. 

But LA chief executive officer Pete Shmigel said there had been no cuts and the offices in Orange and Dubbo were simply locations the Bathurst centre operated from.

Mr Shmigel said LA’s constitution was agreed by each of its members, including LCW, in 2012.

“[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.