Senior Queenslanders will no longer receive ongoing lawn mowing rebates under the Home Assist Secure program, according to a letter sent to clients in southwest Brisbane.
The Home Assist Secure program helps older people and residents with disabilities to deal with practical housing-related difficulties so they can remain living in their home, including providing subsidised maintenance and safety modifications.
Housing and Public Works Minister Bruce Flegg issued a statement this morning saying he wanted to reassure elderly Queenslanders “that there are no plans to scrap the popular Home Assist Secure service” amid the current Newman government cost-cutting.
“Like all government programs, we want to ensure that they are operating as efficiently as possible,” he said in the statement.
“However, this is a vital service and it will continue to be fully funded.”
But the state opposition said a $10 lawn mowing rebate provided on an ongoing basis under the program would be axed.
The opposition gave the media a letter sent from one of the Home Assist Secure service providers to clients in southwest Brisbane, which stated it had been determined that ongoing lawn mowing did not meet the requirements of the program guidelines.
“As from 30th September 2012, ongoing law mowing under the Home Assist Secure program will cease,” the July 9 letter stated.
“Within this period you will be required to make your arrangements with the lawn mowing in the future.
“A list of contractors currently used by Home Assist Secure is attached and can be contacted by you to receive a quote for your lawn and future service.”
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said the rebate had given elderly people a discount of $10 when a contractor mowed their lawn.
She said the axing of the rebate was a “mean-spirited attack” and she accused the state government of “sinking to a new low”.
“This would not be a huge saving but there are thousands of people out there that are utilising this service,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We can hear Bruce Flegg saying all he wants he’s not cutting the [Home Assist Secure] program but here it is in black and white,” she said of the letter about the mowing rebate.
Further comment is being sought from Dr Flegg.
However, brisbanetimes南京夜网.au understands mowing rebate vouchers may still be handed to clients on a short-term basis to help their transition from cutting their own lawns to using contractors. The issue is with ongoing mowing services.
It is also understood changes may be in the works that are a positive for Home Assist Secure clients. Confirmation of these other measures is being sought.
The Department of Housing and Public Works says Home Assist Secure provides free information and referrals about home maintenance, falls prevention, repairs and modifications and home security.
Eligible clients can access subsidised assistance for minor home maintenance, repairs and modifications which relate to health, safety and security, according to the department’s website.
Free information and referrals are available to people aged 60 years or older or to anyone with a disability so long as they live in their own home or rental housing.
Subsidised help is available to people who receive a federal government payment or allowance and cannot use other forms of assistance, such as Home and Community Care, Veterans’ Affairs, family or friends.
Money is provided to community-based organisations to employ staff and to pay trades people to provide Home Assist Secure services, the department’s website states.
More to come…
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