As Australia marks National Hearing Awareness Week, local Members Stephen Jones and Sharon Bird are calling on the Abbott Government to put local families at ease over the potential sale of Australian Hearing Services outlined in the Federal Budget.
“I was recently contacted by a local family, deeply concerned about the impact that the potential sale of Australian Hearing Services by the Abbott Government will have on the services delivered to their son”, said Jones.
“Five year old Felix is deaf with a profound hearing loss. He has to wear Cochlear implants and has had to receive regular services from Australian Hearing since he was 6 weeks old.
Australian Hearing Services provides children with annual testing, new hearing technology and spare parts as well as guidance and support at seven locations across the Illawarra including Wollongong, Dapto and Shellharbour.
“Without Australian Hearing there is no way that children like Felix would reaching all the academic, physical and social goals of other five-year-olds or even entering mainstream school”, said Jones.
“Felix is just one of many children across the region who rely on this important organisation”, said Sharon Bird.
“The ability of deaf people to contribute to Australian society and lead productive and fulfilling lives is heavily dependent on the quality of treatment and support they receive in their early years.”
Stephen Jones says he has written to Minister for Human Services, Marise Payne requesting confirmation that there will be no sale of Australian Hearing Services as part of the 2014-15 Budget measures but has been advised that no decision has been made.
“It is absolutely vital that the level of support provided by Australian Hearing Services to these children and their families is not diminished by the Abbott Government”, said Jones.
“We are calling on the Government to confirm the future of Australian Hearing Services as a matter of urgency.”