Lifeline funding in Central West has not been cut

Lifeline CEO Pete Shmigel.

Lifeline CEO Pete Shmigel.

LIFELINE Australia has again rejected claims that $800,000 in funding has been cut from Lifeline Central West (LCW).

Recently elected Orange MP Philip Donato came into bat for LCW on Thursday claiming the LCW offices in Dubbo, Bathurst and Orange have had huge cuts in the last four years.

He called on Bathurst MP Paul Toole and Dubbo MP 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,” he 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,” he said.

“There have been no cuts and they are not being mooted.”

Each year the NSW Government allocates funds to LA which are distributed to its centres across the country.

But, in LA’s own constitution LCW is defined as one centre operating in Bathurst. The offices in Orange and Dubbo are simply, Mr Shmigel said, other locations from where the Bathurst centre operates.

Because LCW is classified as one centre it is forced to share the $100,000 that each LA centre receives.

Mr Shmigel said LA’s constitution was agreed to be each member, 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.

“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.”

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”.