The news in the first week of January that the State Government had doubled the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme fuel subsidy was brilliant and came as a great relief for locals financially struggling to fill up at the bowser to travel outside of the region for health appointments not available locally.
The subsidy rate now available is 32 cents per kilometre, and the next change to the PATS scheme I’d like to see is more autonomy on choosing the specialists that rural people can use for treatment. So often PATS claims are denied because locals are deemed to have bypassed an available service when the reason they’ve done so is because the waiting list to see the local visiting specialist they need is months and they fear waiting for treatment will threaten their health. It is a very difficult choice to make; the fact there are long waiting lists must be taken into consideration by PATS assessment teams in my view.
Thriving Communities Program and E-vouchers for Live Music
Welcome news last week was the State Government opening a new grants program dedicated to strengthening regional communities: the Thriving Communities Program.
This fund offers grants from $20,000-$50,000 for community groups and non-profit organisations in regional communities with projects intended to improve quality of life and strengthen regional economies.
Projects can include physical infrastructure, plant and equipment, events to enhance community wellbeing and engagement, or community training initiatives such as First Aid, Mental Health First Aid, Child Safe, cultural awareness and inclusion.
Applications close when the $600,000 dedicated to the program is fully allocated, or at 5pm on 30 June 2023, whichever occurs first. For guidelines and further information, visit the Grants section of this website.
Another good initiative, this time for eligible venues (pubs/clubs) wanting to host live music in 2023, is the latest See It LIVE support package offering the opportunity to register for multiple e-vouchers worth $2,000. Two different vouchers ($400 and $2,000) are available now and can be used retrospectively for any live music performance since 1 December 2022 through to 16 April 2023. For more information, go to the Grants tab, or visit www.seeitlive.sa.gov.au
Health Petition Ongoing
Well done to all who continue to host or sign petition sheets calling for improvements to rural health services. The signature tally is estimated at over 6,000 now, on our way to the target of 10,000. I will soon be again visiting townships to spruik this ongoing effort; keep up the good work everyone!