IDEAS disability service in Tumut facing closure if NSW funding cuts go ahead

HOLDING OUT HOPE: IDEAS marketing manager Jenelle Becker, Wagga MP Daryl Maguire, and IDEAS CEO Diana Palmer at the presentation of a petition holding more than 2100 signatures. Picture: Supplies
HOLDING OUT HOPE: IDEAS marketing manager Jenelle Becker, Wagga MP Daryl Maguire, and IDEAS CEO Diana Palmer at the presentation of a petition holding more than 2100 signatures. Picture: Supplies

The fate of a Riverina advocacy group is in limbo ahead of a $22 billion shakeup that will see disability services transferred from the states to the federal government. 

The National Insurance Disability Scheme will be taken up on July 1, however, information services like IDEAS in Tumut have been left out of the handover. 

IDEAS CEO Diana Palmer said the organisation, which plays a vital role in connecting disabled people around the Riverina with a wide range of support services, will be forced to shut down if no other funding is secured. 

“From July 1, people in NSW with disabilities will have very patchy access to advocacy and information support they need to allow them to make informed decisions,” she said.

“Unless some of the grant applications we've put in for funding that we’re still waiting to hear about come through, we will have no operating revenue to continue on with after June 30.

“IDEAS is an organisation that has been operating for over 30 years in Tumut, and we have over 20 people working for us – so that's quite a lot of jobs in a country town that are at risk.”

IDEAS presented a petition with more than 2100 signatures to Wagga MP Daryl Maguire last week to urge the NSW government to reconsider these funding cuts.

Ms Palmer said their meeting was positive.

“Our local member Daryl Maguire was happy to accept the petition and take it back to present to the party room,” Ms Palmer said.

“Daryl has been a strong supporter of IDEAS, and he certainly believes in the work we do – we haven't heard anything since our meeting, but we know Daryl is advocating on our behalf and we need him to continue doing that.” 

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