No funding, no future

Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of WA client services co-ordinator Vicki Bailey with Rocky Bay resident Lisa Cairnes. Picture: Andrew Ritchied407288
Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of WA client services co-ordinator Vicki Bailey with Rocky Bay resident Lisa Cairnes. Picture: Andrew Ritchied407288

She said said the Nedlands association was struggling to stay afloat after the State Government cut its $42,000 annual funding in July.

‘That funding was almost enough to pay my office manager and my wages, so now we’ve having to dip into savings,’ she said.

‘Most of the day-to-day financial support we receive is from people shaking tins out on the street.

‘Unless we can outlive the Liberal Party in this state or get a major sponsor to commit at least $50,000 a year, I would say we only have about three years left.’

A Disability Services Commission spokeswoman said the government had previously funded SBHAWA but its service agreement expired on June 30.

She said an external evaluator reviewed the SBHAWA in May and found it had not met required Disability Service Standards regarding policies, procedures and customer satisfaction.

SBHAWA board chairman David Butler said the commission had also pulled funding for many other small disability sector organisations.

‘They decided we weren’t doing enough, but as far as I am aware we were fully compliant,’ Mr Butler said.

Ms Bailey said SBHAWA had to cancel its much-anticipated October 18 fundraising ball when they did not sell enough tickets.

‘Losing our deposit was disappointing, but the big thing was that we were hoping to make about $10,000 profit from the ball to give back to our members,’ she said.

‘The State Government has the new stadium and Elizabeth Quay happening, and meanwhile we are copping funding cuts in already-struggling disability support organisations.

‘It doesn’t make sense; it is like the government does not care.’

SBHAWA member and Rocky Bay resident Lisa Cairnes (50) said she fondly remembered joining the association many decades ago and had enjoyed its events over the years.

‘The lack of funding is very disappointing and I really do not want to see it fold,’ Ms Cairnes said.

‘I feel like I’m not being listened to, it’s very upsetting.’