8th Apr Update …

Hi all,

This is a short update to advise the results for the 31st Mar Interest Notifications.

The notifications came from three different groups –

  1. Carers with direct access and responsibility to their clients,
  2. Respite centre operators, and
  3. Direct response notifications by mail, fax or E-Mail …

Each were asked to nominate the TIER level of interest – where

  1. TIER 1 = This grouping being represented by persons with severe disabilities who require full/part-time carers.
  2. TIER 2 = This group being represented by self-help disability pensioners, and other pensioners with mobility issues and wish to become involved in a healthier aqua therapy/exercise program on a regular basis.
  3. TIER 3 = This group being represented by all the other ‘pensioner’ groups, including self funded retirees, and people living independently who want to be part of a healthier exercise program to maintain their independent lifestyles.
  4. TIER 4 = For persons under the age of 18

The results were expected to yield interest levels of 300-500 and these numbers have been exceeded – only a small fraction (10%) of Carer groups provided numbers.

It is known that HACC provide services to over 600 clients and in discussions with the Management – they generally agreed that their clients would all benefit from a program like this.  They and many like them have not provided interest numbers in any formal way that can be used in this survey.  Quite a number of their Carers clients do not have the ability to complete forms – nor do the Carer staff have the time in their normal routine to chase down the advocates who would be required to complete the forms to indicate interest.  It is just known that the Carer clients would benefit from a aqua-therapy program if it were available.

This was a very sensitive issue from the Carers perspective – and I am now acutely aware of how the initial survey requests did not fully appreciate this fact.

So with respect to the numbers below – firstly let me say – the program still remains focused on gaining access to the Council pools for the Tier 2 and 3 group as a first priority.  The TIER 1 and 4 group will require specific funding to enable the paid employ to staff and safely manage a program that can provide an aqua-therapy program for this group.  The Association when formed and Incorporated will pursue the funding requiements for these Tier Levels post haste.

Some Tier 2 and 3 participants will require carer’s in the pool environment i.e. learn to swim issues etc – and they will also have to wait until the funding has been sourced – and for the program structured to meet all workplace health and safety requirements – and for the Council to complete the necessary upgrades to comply with some of these requirements.

There are many Tier 2 and 3 participants who currently use the pool and/or will want to become part of the Association – will be able to start using the pool as members of the Association immediately Council grant access – and hopefully that access cost will match the Gladstone Council efforts in providing free access to Association Members between 7:30 – 9:00 am Monday to Friday.

The non-individual numbers below come from 5 Carers – and 5 Respite Centres out of more than 50+ carer and respite providers in the Fraser Coast  Community who were contacted.

Interest Notification Numbers:

Carer/Respite Name: Interest Level Notifications: Totals
Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4
Individual Notifications: 9 32 30 6 77
Respite Care Notifications: 6 56 59 0 121
Carer Notifications: 117 189 175 0 481
Totals: 132 277 264 6 679

These numbers exceeded initial expectations and is more than a qualifying number for the Association to take seriously the need for an Aqua-Therapy program targeting disability and elderly participants.

Research has shown that in 2009 –

  • more than 5,500 people living in the Fraser Coast Community were receiving a disability pension –
  • more than 30,000 of the population of 99,000 are aged 55 or over –
  • more than 14,000 were receiving the aged pension –

This is a very large portion of the Fraser Coast community – all aided and assisted by:

  • the Blue Care services,
  • the Palliative care services,
  • the HACC, OzCare, and other Church Carer services,
  • the physio providers,
  • the Doctors and Nurses
  • and all the other connected – Meals on Wheels, house cleaning, etc …

This population drives a very large part of all employment and other commerce in this area.  It is time for the Council to address the local services it provides to these residents who choose to live in this area.  These residents want to exercise – but because of age and ware and tear – they need a soft environment to allow them to exercise without  the associated pain and suffering – that means water …

The pension income does not allow them to attend the pool at $3.70 a visit – or with a Dr’s Certificate at 50% of that cost – they need regular pool access and season ticket discounts is one way of assisting – another way is to allow members of this proposed Association free access and for the Association to negotiate an arrangement with Council that provides access – and at a cost that can be afforded.

Council will be wanting this group to exercise – else the medical and health care resources in this community will be further drained of capacity – and lessen the services they currently offer – unless additional funding can be provided.

Current Status:

A small steering committee was formed last Friday and a second meeting of that committee is to be held on Tuesday next – the main aim of this Committee to to plan the first General Meeting for the Association at which there will be elected a Management Committee for the Association.

The Association needs Business and Community Leader interest to fill some of the senior positions on this Management Committee.  Please – if you know someone that would want to become involved with a program like this at the Management Committee level – can you please advise me using this e-mail address: fcata@bigpond.com or contact me by phone on 07-41 941 081 … or contact the concerned party and let them know about the program and pass these details on.

The Association cannot progress until we have the General Meeting and get this Management Committee …

In closing I want to thank all the Carer and Respite Centre Managers for their assistance in procuring the numbers they submitted.  Hopefully this program will soon be able to provide to your members an aqua-therapy program that will please all …  Thank you again.

bye for now …

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Tony Abbott – his position on the disabled exposed …

ABC News

The ABC hit a story about Disability and the current Opposition Leader and from my current perspective – it truly represents how most Community Leaders and Politicians view the disabled – Abbott sees this group as a round-up demographic that he wants to use to balance his budgets by just taking or lowering their pensions.

It’s a pathetic display by a pretend Leader who just does not understand – but of course he is not alone – most Politicians bounce this group and give them reason to feel like second rate citizens – this is despite all the Legislative advancement made in the past decade or so.

Abbot – you are a twit along with all the other bigoted idiots who think disabled means a public drain of the public purse – your wanting to penny pinch from this group displays just why you make the disability group feel marginalised within our Society – your rhetoric influences public opinion – I have no idea why people should or want to listen to you – but they are happy to take the headline and generalise it and as a result more people walk by ths group with strange and advoidence glares.

Please read the story below written by a disabled journalist and feel shamed …

Dear Tony, let me tell you about my disabled career

By Stella Young

In an address prepared for delivery in Brisbane today at a Queensland Chamber of Commerce lunch, Mr Abbott will propose welfare reforms, including reforms to disability welfare payments.

Ahhh, the old tough love chestnut again! Give us less cash and we’ll be inspired to abandon our sweet, sweet deal watching daytime TV and living off the hard-working Aussie taxpayers.

Great idea Tony. But I’m afraid you’re forgetting a fairly big factor in this proposal; the intense, deeply-rooted discrimination that occurs in every facet of life for people with disabilities, including employment.

I’ve been a recipient of the Disability Support Pension. It’s a tiny bit more money than the dole and you don’t have to prove that you’re actively looking for work. You do have to prove that you’re still disabled every two years.

When I was on the DSP, it wasn’t because I wanted to sit around watching Oprah all day. It was because despite having been dux of my secondary college, going straight to uni and earning myself two degrees while doing a bit of volunteering as well, I could not for the life of me get a job.

I wasn’t spending my welfare payment on champagne and caviar. I was spending it on the minimum amount of food I could get away with buying (lucky I’m small and don’t eat much), rent, taxi fares to job interviews, wheelchair maintenance, a cleaning lady to come and do my vacuuming and medication to make sure I could stay healthy enough to eventually have a job.

The whole time I was treating getting a job like a job in itself. Having completed a Dip Ed in Secondary Education (after a journalism degree), I was all ready to head into a school and set about making sure young people were able to reach their potential in life. But I found those doors firmly closed. And up a huge flight of stairs.

I applied for dozens of jobs, at schools I could find that had wheelchair access, and even some that didn’t. I decided that the three week teaching round I did at a school that didn’t have a disabled toilet wasn’t really all that bad, and a strict regime of no fluids til after 3pm was a small price to pay for a career I so desperately wanted.

After 6 months of meeting school principals whose biggest concern was how I was going to write on the blackboard, I gave up. Partly because of the access, and partly because of the attitudes.

I got a job at a disability organisation where I knew there’d be an accessible toilet, and they’d be gagging to employ a real live wheelchair user. It was a good job, I liked it. It wasn’t teaching, it wasn’t working with young people. It was a waste of my education and my passion, but it took away the shame of having to claim welfare. That’s right Tony, a great many people who claim the DSP keep pretty quiet about it. Partly because of folks like you running about calling us bludgers.

In the seven years since I claimed the DSP, the very real, very solid barriers to employment for people with disabilities haven’t melted away.

Our education system continues to fail students with disabilities. I was extremely lucky that my parents insisted on me attending a mainstream school, and that I was born in a rural area where there wasn’t another option. The fact that I have an education because I’m “lucky” is actually pretty terrifying.

An enormous number of kids with absolutely no cognitive impairment are still locked away in special schools. They’ll finish when they’re 18, with the numeracy and literacy of a grade 4 kid, and they’ll be expected to compete in the labour market with their non-disabled peers who’ve been educated and socialised appropriately.

People come out of special schools with no confidence, no skills and no clue. And it’s not their fault. The system fails them.

So Tony, I can only assume that you’ll have spent the morning extending your lunchtime speech to include your plans to address these systems as well. Because you can reduce the amount of money we can access in the blind hope that it’ll inspire us to drag ourselves away from Oprah and into the workforce, but until you take that big stick of yours and wield it in the right direction, you might as well be a cat burying crap in a marble floor.

30th Mar Update …

Hi all,

A quick note to advise that the ‘draft’ Model Rules for the Association has been updated and posted for perusal and feedback – click the link below to read PDF file: 

https://fcata.wordpress.com/draft-fcata-aims-and-goals/

[please note – any alterations to the Model Rules as provided by the Office Fair Trading – are highlighted in ‘yellow’]

cheers … Ian.

29th Mar Update …

Hello all,

Yesterday was a watershed day in many ways …

  • First off in the morning there were on camera interviews with Channel 7 and Channel 9 – they came in response to help spread the word about the program to the Fraser Coast community.  Both Channels indicated they will air the interviews Monday night – interviews can be seen using the links below – files are compressed .avi file format and run for about 90sec –
  1. Channel 7 Local News Story
  2. Channel 9 Local News Story

The comment I will make on the record about the content of the interviews is that there are no versions of the truth – I challenge the Mayor to deny he gave an undertaking during a meeting in Sept 2010  to immediately address the issue of ‘concession pool’ prices.

The undertaking he gave was that Council would not wait until the next round of budgets to move on ‘concession card’ discounts – his comments in the linked interviews above were not an honest reflection of the commitment he gave during that meeting – his other interview comments were a muddied version of the truth – he was playing politics –

I call him to account for his comments – he cannot deny that he shook my hand and looked me in the eye and said: ‘No – we’ll do something now’ – in response to his Director Community Development’s suggestion that they do a review in the 2011-12 budget.  The offer he did make has been documented at this site previously –

As to what other information he spoke about – the man is unconscionable and still has no comprehension what this program is about an can offer to the Fraser Coast Community …

  • A registered participant who contacted the Federal and State Member – and a Councillor – copied to me the return comments by Councillor Brooks who I call a flip-flopper – and to ensure she is not misquoted – her response is pasted hereto in full –

sent 25th Mar:

Sue,

My partner Neville, is unable to walk very much at all, due to significant problems with his health, To have something like this in Hervey Bay for people with disabilities would be wonderful and is urgently needed, Please support this

for me, as a carer I am not getting much attention and help from anyone as it happens.

__________________________________

response 28th Mar: from Councillor Sue Brooks

I hope Mr Bleys is successful in launching a group. I am sure Council will provide support to any such group once it is created.

Take care, Sue

___________________________________

further reply to Cr Brooks:

sent 28th Mar:

Thanks Sue, my understanding is that the Fraser Coast Council has not been very supportive of the issue

____________________________________

28th Mar – final response from Cr Brooks:

This is just not true. Mr Bleys wants Council to create the group and support it etc and this is not what Council does. We require the community to create the interest and/or bring it together and then we can work out ways to support it. Mr Bleys is doing a great disservice by running Council down. I believe he is not helping his cause and is not understanding the Council commitments properly. We do not have the resources to go out and create this group but if the community does, we will help as much as we can. We have always said this!

Ta, Sue

PS It is not just about entrance fees to the pool…

____________________________________

I sent the following message to All Councillors and Lisa Desmond yesterday after I received the Cr Brooks information:

To – All Councillors and Ms Desmond –

You are advised that the Cr Brooks comments are completely incorrect and misguided –

_________________________________________

For some history please read the attached file sent to All Councillors in Sept 2010 – a summary version appears below:

The file can be read using this link:  Pool issue 20100922

  • Two years ago I contacted Debra Moore with a DVD about the non existence of ‘concession card’ discounts for pool admission.
  • Ms Moore said there was nothing she could do and suggested I contact Cr Muckan – I left several message for Cr Muckan over a matter of weeks and he replied to none of them.
  • I again contacted Cr Muckan via e-mail to raise the same issue again early 2010 –
  • That resulted in a Council meeting in August last year – see attached file for Council minutes and responses …
  • Council requested a report on ‘budget impact’
  • Council report does not respond on ‘budget impact’ – but quotes erroneous numbers for other Council pool admission fees.
  • Council report proved to be false in its information –
  • My own report submitted –
  • Mayor requests meeting
  • Mayor gives an undertaking to fix the problem –
  • Mayor gives me a personal invitation to pay the full and general admission price on a monthly basis – no discount to the general public price –
  • This monthly payment plan is already available to the General Public
  • During research for report – Gladstone Aqua Therapy program is discovered –
  • Approach made to Council about supporting a similar program –
  • Council advise they cannot support a program or establish such a program –
  • Federal Funding grant ‘Healthier Communities Initiative’ canvassed with Council as being a possible funding option for program
  • Council advise the funding application they are preparing and the parameters they understand the funding to be made available under – do not suit the proposed aqua-therapy program –
  • Further research undertaken with Carer groups and they all suggest to apply for funding under the ‘Healthier Communities Initiative’ – submissions for this Federal grant closed on the 4th Feb 2011 –
  • Back to Council and told that they cannot become involved with the aqua therapy program – it has to be established by the community before council can get involved –
  • Further research done on establishing an aqua therapy program on the Fraser Coast undertaken –
  • Council again approached on pool access and cost question –
  • Council indicate they will negotiate pool access and cost when Management Committee formed –
  • Council informed that no funding applications can be made until Council give undertaking to support the program with pool access and a known cost for that access –
  • Council refuse to answer further correspondence or return phone calls –

Council are aware of my own disabilities and their restrictiveness – yet they offer no logistical support to help establish a program that would benefit a great many number of people living in this community – forming a Committee to manage what will become a $500-$750k annual budget requires people with some experience and financial ability.  The people who will benefit from this program will be able to provide some volunteer type help – but as for being able to serve on Committee and manage a budget, staff and the logistical support required for this program requires people with relative experience.

I do not have the ability to go and knock on doors seeking Community leaders to become involved with this program – all my efforts to date have been made largely over the internet – some small media help and by phone – in fact there have only been three councillors who has made any attempt to contact me in relation to this program – and I would go so far as to say  –  collectively – they and the rest of the Councillors take no responsibility for voting unanimously on the Council produced report last August – they got it wrong then – and they have it wrong now –

As a Council – of course they can act to better service their local community – they just choose not to when it comes to the aged – the disabled and the concession card group on this issue …

Why should they wait for this group to form their own committee and structure a program and then approach Council to beg them to help – why the hell don’t Council be pro-active in helping this Group help themselves.

Cr Brooks’ comments are naive in the extreme and are indicative of just how Council and Councillors recognise this large demographic group living in their community – they need Council to provide initial support by providing pool access and a costing for that access to help get the program up and running.

Carer groups have large Administration and funding behind them – this program does not have that – everybody says this is a great program and is needed – yet nobody at Federal, State or Local Council wants to become involved at the base level of formulation and getting this program up and running – the question is why?

This Council provides a budgeted General Public pool subsidy in excess of $250K per year – what do they provide for the ‘concession card’ group for pool subsidy – zero  support – if they matched the general public subsidy – then the program has a base level of cost funding to make application for Federal and State funding.  That level of support would encourage funding from other groups –

If the only thing stopping them from making a commitment like that is that they want to deal with a Management Committee – then I say bullocks – this is a genuine attempt to do good community work and if council cannot see they – they are blind –

I do hope this clears up the misleading information Cr Brooks has put forth in her response …

She has continually got her facts wrong and completely off topic when she has responded on this issue with me in the past – any support she has offered to date comes as a flip-flopper and has had no real contribution to where the program is currently –

Regards … Ian Bleys.

Let me say further –

  • The Council have had 2 years to address any moral and conscious position they personally may have in ‘not’ offering ‘concession card’ discounts to pool users – and they have not budged – this is not something that has just suddenly arrived at their front door – the Hervey Bay Council had never considered the issue of ‘concession card’ discounts prior to the amalgamation – yet the Maryborough Pool according to my research did offer concession card discounts –
  • In the 2 year period this matter has been on the FCRC doorstep – the Council have given the ‘general public’ a budgeted $500k in subsidised admission prices – and not a thing for ‘concession card’ holders using the pool.
  • When Cr Brooks says it is not just about entrance fees – she is right – it is about how a Council she serves on and supports – can be so blatantly prejudiced against the ‘concession card’ demographic on pool admission prices – when the  same Council can offer ‘concession card’ discounts of varying degrees on so many other Council services in the area –  [i.e. Council Rates – Bus operators operating under Council Tenders – Brolga Theatre – Maryborough and Hervey Bay Shows – and I am sure there are others.  In addition electricity suppliers offer discounts – as to private local business’s – tradies – Supermarkets – some Professional services etc ] –
  • What is the problem in expecting this Council to fall into line with every other like Council up and down the QLD coastline and offer pool discounts to the ‘concession card’ holders.
  • It is not like this group is going to the pool for leisure activity – they are going for exercise and the need to use the pool to assist with their mobility issues.

No – the Fraser Coast Regional Council are wrong and they also run the risk of the State Member for Local Government becoming further involved over the State Disabilities Act 2006 – and with reference to the following sections as a start … : [the Act can be downloaded via this link: http://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/D/DisabServA06.pdf ]

  • Part 1 – Division 2(6-8) [Objects]
  • Part 2 – 18 [Persons encouraged to have regard to human rights Principle]
  • Part 2 – 19(3-5) [Persons encouraged to have regard to human rights Principle]
  • Part 2 – Division 2(20–33) [Service delivery principles]
  • Part 3 – Section 34 [Minister may make disability service standards]

The FCRC presides over the highest per capita number of disability pensioners in QLD – yet it is a Council that does not recognise what this really means.  The pool provides such relief for and assists in so many ways to aid this group – they have never thought to help this group in this way –

Councils reasoning is they believe someone else should put together a program for this group of disadvantaged persons.  Yet late last year when a local carer tried to instigate a Learn to Swim program for a disability group – the Council chose to refused them access even though it was independently funded and staffed away from the pool staffing resources.

The Council does allow private physio’s to bring their clients to the pool because the pool does not offer this service.  They also allow privately conducted water aerobics and other exercise programs on a private ‘pay as you’ use arrangement the persons conducting the program.

The Council has very strange attitudes to the whole ambit of disabled and aged persons using the pool to keep fit and help with mobility issues – as long as you pay the general public price – you can use the pool.

That attitude does not run consistent with what it does for ‘concession card’ users in other Council services and amenities.  I dare say that the Council policy on this issue is flawed in a way that Council do not understand what the pool offers and can mean to those wanting affordable access to manage their mobility issues.

Have you had enough of this Council?  Contact your Local Member and give them a serve – their contact details can be found at this link:    https://fcata.wordpress.com/contact-info-for-federal-and-state-members-local-councillors/

________________________________

To change the target away from the Council for a period as advised by a mentor – I turn to the positives of the week –

  • I will be making a few calls during the week to approach some people about serving on an interim steering Committee – looking for 4-5 people to serve until the first General meeting.
  • The Gladstone Aquatic Therapy Program President intends to make a trip to Hervey Bay to attend what looks like a delayed General Meeting to be held on the 5th May 2011.
  • It is very important that the meeting be delayed until this time – the lady who set up the Gladstone program now residing in Hervey Bay has indicated today that she is prepared to become part of the initial FCATA steering Committee – she is away for most of April.
  • Carol has been advising me on so many matters relating to this program – but not the Council bashing stuff – that she will be an invaluable asset to the program.   She is a qualified nurse and started the GATA program off over 22 years ago – she is very familiar with Council problems coming to terms with a program like this.
  • The steering Committee will be looking into the registration of the Association and its Incorporation – and will present a different face to Council to hopefully bring about changes to their resistant position.
  • I looked to the number of Respite Carers and their preliminary estimates and the number is approaching 200 – I have over 60 individual Interest Notifications and this is fast approaching the bottom side of initial target estimates of 300-500 in this initial interest stage.
  • This is but a fraction of the 5,500+ disability and the 14,000+ aged pensioners living in the area.  Hopefully the media stories on TV last night will carry the message out to a greater number of potential users of the program.

Cheers all ….

25th Mar – Another Comment Post …

This post was received moments ago and says it all – a great number of the people who have rang as a result of the Observer and Herald ads feel the same way:

from … Roz: … I cannot understand why in 2011, we have to beg council for a proposal of this sort. I have done my bit tonight and emailed all politicians, and councillors regarding the matter. But why is it necessary to do so?  Its a known fact that aqua therapy assists a great many people with chronic illness and disability. I thought we had got past having to beg for this sort of help a decade ago, apparently not.

I will not give my vote to any Politian or councillor that does not make a speedy progress towards this happening in fact I will physically lobby against them come next time they are begging for my vote.

Fraser Coast Regional Council, your pools belong to the constituents, a great many of which are either aged or have disabilities. You are not providing a service which is fair and reasonable to all, by denying access for this type of therapy to be used in the pools in this area.

________________________________

Here … Here … I say and have been for two years with this Council.

  • My research uncovered a little know fact before the Maryborough and Fraser Coast Councils merged – Maryborough did offer ‘concession card’ discounts.  When they merged the Maryborough pool reverted to the Hervey Bay Council Fee structures. – no concession card discounts.  This was confirmed when I rang the Maryborough pool about their ‘concession card’ policy with respect to discounts before the Council mergers – the pool person I spoke to explained their admission prices confirming the discounts.
  • Another reason for this Council to be embarrassed comes in how the Gladstone Council support their Aqua Therapy program – the donate $40,000 worth of free pool time each year – and also allow all concession card holders ‘free’ access to their pool between 8:00 and 9:00 am Mon – Fri …  Their program has been running for over 20 years – and they too had troubles initially getting the Council support.
  • Another story about another Council stepping up and assisting their elderly and disabled came from a lady who has signed up as a participant – she has 20 years of physio experience as a nurse in a Gold Coast Program – she was very vocal about the FCRC and there reluctance to get involved – she will be a great asset to the program.

This Council has no option other then to re-consider their position – as the support for this program will continue to grow – and the current Councillors think about their re-election chances in March next year – perhaps the demographic group that this program will benefit may have some say in who they support and whether they become re-elected.

25th Mar Update: Some response comments …

Below are a cross section of some response comments from Interest Notifications received to date:

from Kay: …This is a disgrace re the council. I am only one disabled person with a small voice.  However, we could take council to the cleaners through Disability Services – discrimination against the aged and disabled is a hot pot. I am sure that council would not like to have a case against them for DISCRIMINATION.  Just a simple thought from me.  Behind you all the way.

__________________________________

from Audrey: … I would be delighted if there could be aqua therapy for the elderly and disabled in Maryborough.  I am nearly 77 and suffer from bad arthritis in the feet and knees, and my back is no good at all.  I am constantly on pain killers.

__________________________________

from Cherie: … There are many people  that use the Maryborough heated pool throughout the day, probably more in the morning,  that may not know about this proposed program.  Perhaps if you could put up notices at the pools themselves where people can see this , it would let many more people know about what you are planning to do.

I try and do my own form of “Aqua aerobics” to work on keeping fit, and lose weight, to hold back encroaching health issues, so I am very much in favour of, and want this program in Maryborough. Being an old age pensioner, I cannot afford to go to professionally run classes.

and another from Cherie: … I can think off hand of at least 20-30 people who are regular exercises (am) at the Maryborough pool who would be very interested. If you had someone at the heated pool weekdays  from 6am (I think that’s when it opens) till 9:30 -10 am, and personally hand out the Interest forms.  Then for all the others that come during the day,  hopefully they will see the poster, if Adrian (Pool manager) is willing to put it up.

__________________________________

from Marie: … Member of Day to Day Living Program and interested in participating as part of our group activities, suffer from Depression and feel that this program would benefit my recovery

__________________________________

from Janet: … I have a permanent disability and although I do not mind volunteering, I work part time and would like the opportunity to attend these sessions myself to improve my fitness and mobility and do not see myself being able to assist people from teir 1.  A phone number would be useful to ask further questions and gain more information.

__________________________________

from Cassandra: …  Hi, I’m not sure if this is the sought of interest you are seeking at present but I would be very interested in teaching your participants of the learn to swim program in any capacity.  I have complete my Austswim qualification and my Infant aquatic qualification and if i thought i could be involved in this opportunity in some way I would be interested doing my Disability Aquatic qualification.  Would appreciate any feed back

Kind regards and good luck with all your organising.

__________________________________

from Sarah: … I moved here 3 months ago from Sydney.  I am hoping that by the time you are up and running I will be 100% free from severe back pain. I chose to take a year off work without pay to get into an exercise and fitness routine and was fed up with only being offered medication instead of alternative treatment. I now do water aerobics, cycling and swimming and managed to landscape my entire gardens, by myself.

I wish i had known about such a group when I was at my lowest. If I can help at all, please let me know. I will hopefully be able to help physically and know from first hand experience the frustrations of ‘immobility’.

Good Luck with your project, most people would not understand what commitment and time it takes to do such a thing.

__________________________________

from Pat: … Country Community Options support many individuals with a disability that would receive great benefit from this program. I can be contacted on the above number and would appreciate some further information.

__________________________________

from Casey: … I dont have a disability but I would like to express my support for this program and offer my assistance as an individual in possibly helping to raise funds/awareness get more people on board

__________________________________

There has been numerous phone conversations over the last eight weeks or so and the stories they revealed were both uplifting and encouraging – if only Council could hear them all …

Please keep your comments coming …

cheers … Ian.

24th Mar Update …

Hi all,

Yesterday – (23rd Mar) –  I again tried to speak with Ms Desmond – the Acting CEO of the Fraser Coast Regional Council.  I was seeking to have some dialog with the CEO over the pool access costs for the FCATA program – and follow up the message I sent her on the 11th March. There has been no response to this message to date.  I was informed on the 18th Mar that the e-mail message had been received and printed out.

I was told that Ms Desmond was locked in meetings all day and that matters had backed up on the CEO – the reason for that backup was of course on the News last night about the Council workers going on strike.

Instead – I had a pleasant conversation with her Aid – Katherine.  She was very loyal and spoke of the CEO’s workload – and I then began to understand a few things.

Whilst this FCATA issue is an important issue from my and many others perspectives – it is one of  many issues the CEO is dealing with on a day to day basis.  She is under immense pressure as the ‘ACTING’ CEO  and the Councillors are extracting their pound of flesh as she tries to prove herself worthy.  But then with a Salary of $250,000 plus perks and superannuation – one would expect that the workload would be fierce.

During the conversation – her Aid let slip that there were over 1600 ‘unread e-mails’ in the CEO’s inbox – when I heard it I asked her to confirm the number – she did.

This spoke volumes as to where the FCATA sits on the CEO’s agenda.  The fact that no acknowledgment or auto response has been received suggests that someone needs to give the Acting CEO some help in making her understand that ‘auto-response’ messages at least give the sender of the e-mail some idea that it has been received – and that the matter has been logged.

Can you imagine what important information might be contained in those ‘unread e-mails’?  I don’t know how many messages she receives a day – but to read and act on 1600+ messages would take many days – perhaps weeks to deal will all the issues involved.  Surely some sort of delegation of responsibility would be in order to ensure that those ‘unread messages’ are dealt with in order of importance. This might just be an insight to why Council takes so long to respond or action anything.

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For several months – since August last year and before – I have continued to pound this council for their inaction over pool admission prices for concession card holders.   That same battle is now taking place in the form of FCATA and trying to extract from Council a price for the FCATA and its future members to go to the pool.

In Oct/Nov last year – the Mayor showed immense disrespect and contempt for the concept of this program in the after math of a meeting I had with him in late Sept 2010.  At the end of that meeting he looked me in the eye – shook my hand – and told me and his Director Community Development who was also in attendence – ‘No – we will do something now to fix this!’

His offer came two weeks later via his Director Community Development – Peter Smith – in the form of a one off arrangement for me to to pay the GENERAL PUBLIC price for a yearly ticket on a monthly basis – the proviso being that I had to pay it at the Council chambers rather than the pool so as to avoid any public awareness of the arrangement. This was an individual offer to me personally when the Mayor knew I was approching him on the basis of all concession card holders.

In an interview with the Pool Manager two weeks ago – he told me that the pool had been offering this arrangement to all purchases of season tickets if they asked for it for several years.

That made the Mayors offer absolutely hollow – a joke – and an insult to all the efforts to convince him to the moral and logical reasons to make a fair decision for the ‘concession card’ group wanting to use the pool.  His offer was an ‘up yours’ response and needs to be exposed for the total lack of responsibility he showed in the position he holds. This man is not worthy to hold the office he does if this is the way he treats marginalised residents living in his constituency.

To provide further information about the Councillor response to the FCATA program – there has only been 3 Councillors respond to any of the 15-20 or so e-mails I have sent to All-Councillors about this program and the Admission price debate since Sept-Oct last year.

That is a pathetic response from a group of Councillors who preside over the 5,500+ disability pensioners in the region – the highest number per capita in QLD – and 1,400+ who under carer attention – and the total 30,000+ over 55’s who are approaching a period in their life where a program such as this will benefit them greatly into the future – and help them remain independent livers.

This Council are not forward looking people – they have no vision about what this program is about – nor what it can and will provide for so many isolated and marginalised residents in this region.  On a matter of such importance and significance for the Fraser Coast region – I would have imagined all the Councillors would have been enthused about a program like this and have made some sort of supportive contact.

Each of the State MemberMr Foley and Mr Sorensen and the Federal Member Mr Neville, have given their support for the program – why is it that council are last to come on board.

The program needs community support to attack this Council and make them aware of how they have misjudged the need for a program like this.  Please ring your Local Councillor and badger them – make them feel pressured to support this program – ask them the question whether they support the program and why not if they say ‘No’.

If they say they support the program – ask them what they are doing about supporting the program – be persistent and not let them fob you off – get angry – express your emotion  – make them accountable for their view.

Please if you do ring your Local Councillor or State/Federal Member – and get a response [see below for Phone Numbers] – log on to this website and tell the readers of this blog your story and the Councillor/Member you rang and their response …  the link to that submission is here – or to the right under Menu Links.

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Phone Numbers:

Local Councillors:

To send an E-Mail to All Councillors – please this address: All-Councillors@frasercoast.qld.gov.au

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Please Ring your Local Members …