Kimba loses red cross vehicle

Kimba loses red cross vehicle

The Kimba red cross vehicle used to transport community members to medical appointments has been returned to the red cross fleet, in a decision labelled "baffling" by Mayor Dean Johnson.

Red Cross SA community programs manager Rosalie Pace said the vehicle was one of five removed from communities across South Australia after a "changing of funding models."

"At the end of the day it was a Red Cross financial decision," she said.

Ms Pace said the decision to re-allocate the vehicle was "hugely challenging" and based on usage statistics.

The Kimba vehicle made around 65 trips in the past year before it was removed a few weeks ago.

Mayor Dean Johnson said the council was "disappointed" there had been no consultation before the decision was made.

"It's the most needy people in the community that use that service," he said.

Mr Johnson said the council requested statistics on the usage of vehicles on the Eyre Peninsula but had not yet received anything.

"Our numbers were very stable... we don't think that adds up."

He said Kimba should have remained a priority despite the smaller population given the lack of a permanent doctor in the town.

"I absolutely think the fact we don't have GP in town outweighs that problem," he said.

Red Cross regional coordinator Kerry Schubert said Kimba residents were still using the Red Cross transport service through the use of the vehicle located at Cleve.

"The service is still available to the community although the vehicle is no longer in Kimba," she said.

Ms Schubert said the organisation had been able to organise every trip requested in the Kimba district in the weeks since the removal of the vehicle.

However, Mr Johnson said using the Cleve vehicle was an "enormous effort on behalf of the volunteers," with additional trips necessary for both Cleve and Kimba volunteers to move the vehicle from town to town.

He said he was "already getting horror stories" about the logistics of sharing the vehicle.

Ms Schubert encouraged the council to look at providing one of their own vehicles to assist in providing the service, which Mr Johnson said would cost upwards of $30,000 annually and put additional requirements on volunteers.

He said it was "the latest in a long list of organisations attempting to put these costs onto councils," and "every dollar of resource" was currently going towards the council's attempts to recruit a permanent doctor.

Mr Johnson encouraged users of the service to contact the Red Cross and local members of parliament about reinstating the vehicle.

Ms Schubert encouraged anyone requiring the transport service to continue to contact the Port Lincoln office.

"There's ways and means we can do it... people just have to ask us," she said.