MOUNT Hutton group home resident Ian Loughnan fears he will be separated from his long-time girlfriend because of the state government's plans to privatise disability services.
Mr Loughnan, who was born with an intellectual disability, spoke out against the privatisation plans at last Wednesday's community rally in Newcastle.
The 70-year-old lives with three others in a complex managed by Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC), which he has called home for the past 22 years.
One of his housemates is his girlfriend of 35 years, Glenda Everson, who also has an intellectual disability.
The two met at former psychiatric facility the Watagan Centre and moved to Mount Hutton together. They have been inseparable ever since.
"My Glenda, I think the world of her," Mr Loughnan said.
"I don't want to move, I want to stay where I am so I can be with her."
However, being separated from Ms Everson is a reality Mr Loughnan might soon have to face.
As the state government closes in on its privatisation of ADHC, it is likely the pair will be moved to separate aged care facilities.
Angered by this, Mr Loughnan joined more than 200 clients, staff and community members from the disability sector at the Public Service Association's rally to protest against the proposed changes.
The association believes the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) would be more effective if the state government maintained a role in its delivery.
Supporting Mr Loughnan at the rally was his friend and advocate Carol Yarovy.
Ms Yarovy said the state government's "cost-cutting" decision to sell its services was unfair.
"I'm very concerned about [Mr Loughnan and Ms Everson's] future," Ms Yarovy said.
"These are people with an intellectual disability so it's already hard for them to understand what's going on."