NSW cuts smoke alarm scheme
Safety concerns have been raised by the axing of a scheme that provides smoke alarms for the deaf.
The Smoke Alarm Subsidy Scheme in New South Wales provided special alarms that use a bright strobe light and a shaker pad that vibrates under a person’s pillow to wake them up.
The scheme has helped over 2,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing people purchase the specialised alarms in the last six years, but has now been scrapped as part of the state's transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
It means anyone not eligible for the NDIS will have to pay the full price of up to $700 for the alarms — more than 20 times the cost of a standard one.
The Deaf Society says a lot of people will miss out, potentially putting their lives at risk.
“Under the NDIS, people who are deaf or hard of hearing will be able to have adapted smoke alarms included in their plan,” the NSW Department of Family and Community Service said in a statement.
Some organisations have raised concerns that other states will also eliminate programs to subsidise specialised smoke alarms in the transition to the NDIS.