Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 16-02-16 Contents Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - 8
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DISABILITY FUNDING CHANGES
Radio station faces cash shortfall
Robert Altamore, who is vision impaired, listens to print-handicapped
radio station Radio 1RPH, which is losing a quarter of its funding.
Photo: Jamila Toderas
While Robert Altamore s colleagues
started their working day with a
newspaper, Mr Altamore flicked on
The retired public servant, who has
been blind since birth, became
involved in the radio for print-
handicapped movement as a university
student in 1979 and helped drive the
establishment of the Canberra station
in the early 1980s.
Now the station he helped build is
under threat, after it was revealed it
will lose a quarter of its funding in July
due to disability funding changes. The
station will face a $38,000 shortfall
when its funding stream from
Disability ACT is discontinued due to
the rollout of the National Disability
While the NDIS has been seen as a
godsend for many families, its funding
model has left many organisations --
which have provided free services to
people with disabilities for many years
-- out in the cold, Radio 1RPH s
management committee president
Lorraine Litster said.
When the NDIS came along we
thought this may spell trouble for us
because the NDIS is sort of a paying-
for-service model, the intention is that
the government gives money to
disabled people and they go off and buy
whatever services they need, she said.
That is fair except there are a number
of organisations providing services to
disabled people that don t lend
themselves to that kind of model.
The station is run on a shoe-string
budget of about $160,000 a year with
only two paid staff and more than 120
volunteers. From a small weatherboard
house on the Barton Highway, it
broadcasts a news reading service to an
estimated 50,000 listeners from as far
away as Wagga Wagga.
But Ms Litster said they may be
forced to reign in their broadcasting
signal if the funding shortfall is not met.
This could mean it may not reach
Queanbeyan, Yass or even
Tuggeranong in the future.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is
destroying up to one tonne of documents --
including classified and top secret material --
The amount of shredding has become so
great the department is searching for a new
machine called the destructor , which must
be capable of destroying 300 kilograms of
documents, disks and CDs every hour.
The department currently disposes of the
documents -- including the top secret material --
at an off-site location by an external contractor.
Tender documents reveal the department is
willing to pay up to $1 million for the machine,
which must operate at night to minimise noise
within the Barton headquarters.
The majority of destruction is conducted
between the unclassified and secret
classification with occasional top secret
material, the documents said.
In order to ensure security and reduce risks
to the department, classified waste must be
destroyed quickly and minimise holdings of the
classified waste prior to destruction.
The department insists no decision has been
made on a purchase, although a designated
room has already been cleared within the
Barton headquarters. A detailed staff plan has
also been presented to commercial bidder.
Classified waste will be collected from
nominated points by DFAT security guards in a
bag transported on a trolley to the destructor,
the document said.
The guards will operate the destructor and
destroy the collected classified waste. It is
expected that any destruction will be done out
of normal working hours from 6pm to 7am due
to the operational noise.
Occasional runs of non-paper based
classified waste will also be run through the
Under the proposal, a team of 15 DFAT staff
will be trained to delete documents on the
machine and must be trained by the
manufacturers of the destructor.
The department has insisted there is no
ground for public concern about the
destruction of classified and top secret
documents as the process was appropriately
regulated with oversight.
It is an offence to destroy Commonwealth
records without approval from the archives
although some documents including drafts,
short-term records, and reference material can
be deleted without oversight.
The department has insisted it may not buy
the destructor and the tender was lodged to
investigate options and better value for money.
It has also committed to destroying the weekly
tonne of documents in an environmentally
Assessment of value for money will include
technical capacity, risk, costs including whole-
of-life costs, training and other factors
considered relevant by the department, a
department spokeswoman said.
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