Like a number of Burnett residents, Winston and Fay Spry have been left extremely dissapointed after they were knocked back from a life changing grant. (Picture: Tristan Evert)​
Like a number of Burnett residents, Winston and Fay Spry have been left extremely dissapointed after they were knocked back from a life changing grant. (Picture: Tristan Evert)​

Elderly Burnett couple denied life changing grant via text

DESPITE being eligible for a $5000 Home Assist Secure grant, Winston and Fay Spry have been left bitterly disappointed.

After being deemed eligible by their relevant home assist provider, the Gayndah couple applied for the grant in June to install a lift that would allow Fay to leave the house as she can't walk down the stairs due to ongoing hip and leg injuries.

After applying they heard nothing about the progress of the application, until they received a generic text message saying they were unsuccessful.

Winston Spry said the money would of gone towards keeping Fay out of an aged care facility.

"It's frustrating when the government promises something and isn't fair dinkum about it," Mr Spry said.

"We applied for the grant over the phone and were treated like a number, we heard nothing until receiving a text message saying we were unsuccessful.

"Fay cries sometimes because she can't get down into the garden and see the animals like I can, so that lift would be life changing for us."

Winston Spry has moved all of Fay’s plants onto the deck as she can’t walk down the stairs of the house. (Picture: Tristan Evert)
Winston Spry has moved all of Fay’s plants onto the deck as she can’t walk down the stairs of the house. (Picture: Tristan Evert)

 

To be eligible for Home Assist Secure services grant, residents must meet all these criteria:

  • at least 60 years old or of any age with a disability
  • a Pensioner Concession Card holder
  • unable to complete the work yourself because it requires technical expertise or is a risk to your health and safety
  • unable to have the works completed through alternative assistance, such as through

All of these were met in Fay's circumstances.

Fay Spry, who is 80-years-old, said she hasn't been able to get out of the house for the three years.

"To get a lift would be life changing, I love the outdoors, I love gardening and would love to just be able to walk around outside and see the animals again," Mrs Spry said.

"I really wish I could just get down the stairs to just go walk around the place.

"I had a serious hip injury a few years ago and since then I have been stuck in the house and this grant was my chance to be able to go outside again."

The Palaszczuk government announced $10 million in $5000 grants for the Home Assist Secure program, which was aimed at helping the elderly pay for critical home maintenance, keeping them in their homes.

This $10 million meant only 2000 Queenslander's would receive the grant and in the Callide Electorate alone, there are more than 8,000 households with residents over the age of 60.

Member for Callide Colin Boyce said even if one per cent of those households applied, it was clear that a lot of senior citizens would be left disheartened.

"My office has been inundated with calls from senior citizens who have been left bitterly disappointed by the Premier's COVID-19 vote grab via the Home Assist Secure grant," MP Boyce said.

"In June this year the Premier announced with great fanfare the Home Assist Secure Grants of $5,000.

"As with the Small Business Grant, this grant was oversubscribed showing the lack of understanding of the real world displayed by the Labor Government."

A number of the people who missed out on the grant were from Gayndah, Mundubbera, Eidsvold and Mount Perry in the North Burnett.

Applicants received no reference number, nothing for them to follow up with and there was no mention of the funding running out before they were advised.

They were given no time frame as to when the would be contacted by the relevant Home Assist providers and now they are simply receiving a 'bad luck' text message after months of waiting.

Winston Spry at his Gayndah home. (Picture: Tristan Evert)
Winston Spry at his Gayndah home. (Picture: Tristan Evert)

 

Mr Spry said they were completely left in the dark.

"We were told by both Public Housing and Home Assist that we were eligible for the grant and after applying we heard nothing," Mr Spry said.

"The government advertise these things heading into an election and it really makes me wonder if it's at all genuine.

"They promise these things, saying the grants are available without telling anyone they are limited, getting people's hopes up before sending a text message to say bad luck."

The text message ended suggesting unsuccessful applicants apply for a different grant offering them $500 a year.

"Not enough money to event pay for a pie everyday," Mr Spry said.

Despite Mr and Mrs Spry's comments, a spokesman from the Department of Housing and Public Works said people whose eligibility was confirmed and their needs assessed by their local Home Assist Secure Provider were kept informed of the progress of their application.

"A high volume of inquiries were received for the grants valued at up to $5,000, which meant that not everyone who applied was able to be assisted by this program," the spokesman said.

"Through the $10 million Seniors and Accessibility Assistance initiative, the Queensland Government has provided support to more than 2,800 eligible seniors and people with disability.

"The work generated by these one-off grants will support the jobs of more than 3,300 tradies across the state.

"Over half of approved applications were from regional or remote areas and over half were from outside of southeast Queensland."

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