LEFT BEHIND: Cerebral palsy sufferer Tim Slater’s quality of life could be affected when the taxi subsidy is cut.
LEFT BEHIND: Cerebral palsy sufferer Tim Slater’s quality of life could be affected when the taxi subsidy is cut. Allan Reinikka Rokataxi

'Un-fare' if Tim's life is curbed

TIM Slater may be limited in some of the things he can do, but the Rockhampton man has not let his disability stop him from getting the most out of his life.

However, his parents Greg and Bev Slater are concerned Tim's way of life may change dramatically as the State Government cuts transport subsidies for those who suffer severe mobility impairments.

The government has proposed that from July next year2013 people with severe mobility impairments will be only receive $400 a year to cover their transport costs.

Tim, who has suffers fromcerebral palsy, is confined to his wheelchair and is reliant on taxis to take him to various events and activities. Without a transport subsidy his parents feel he will not be able to maintain his quality of life.

"At the moment, a taxi fare for Tim is half the price of a regular fare, which is perfectly manageable for him. It allows him to go to his art classes and visit the cerebral palsy league a couple of days a week, or go to a show at the Pilbeam Theatre or whatever he wants to do to get him out of the house," Bev explained.

"But with what the government is proposing now, it will make things very difficult for him to afford to do a lot of things and basically mean he will be spending more time just sitting in his room, looking at the walls or watching a TV. That's not much of a life.

"And we are just one family who will be affected by this," Greg added. "There will be hundreds of families, just in CQ, who will be impacted by this."

Vision Australia acting advocacy manager Liz Jeffrey also criticised the government's decision, saying taxis were important for many people with disabilities as other modes might not be suitable.

"Taxi services are therefore a necessity rather than a luxury for many people who are blind or have low vision," Ms Jeffrey said.

Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne is currently putting together a petition to lobby against the $400 limit.

"This decision really makes no sense and its effects will be far reaching, but with a bit of pressure on the government I believe we can achieve a positive outcome," he said.

Anybody interested in signing the petition should call Mr Byrne's office on 4927 5299.



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