Aged care, disability services cut
Queanbeyan Mayor Tim Overall. Photo: David Butler
Queanbeyan City Council will cut its provision of aged care, disability and respite services next year, as it tries to curb the soaring costs of ''non-core'' local government services.
Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall has foreshadowed some backlash from 1400 carers and clients affected by the decision, despite his assurances the move will not create any disadvantage, disruption, or gap in service delivery.
The council announced the plan on Friday, saying its hand was forced by ''unsustainable'' costs, which have risen to $1.8 million a year.
It will look to the private sector to take over responsibility for the community services, and is working with state and Commonwealth funding bodies to find suitable providers.
The decision leaves 15 full-time staff, 17 casual workers and 27 volunteers in limbo, although Mr Overall said he would fight to ensure they were re-employed by the companies that take over.
''We can only do our best and make those representations and work in close co-operation with those providers,'' Mr Overall said.
''We'll be doing our best to secure their ongoing employment,'' he said.
Mr Overall said the changes were likely to cause some frustration for carers and clients.
''We expect that there will be concerns, change is always difficult for many in our community to accept.''
The council approached federal and state funding bodies, and the relevant ministers, for extra funding, but was told none was available.
Mr Overall rejected any link between high-cost capital projects, notably the $4.45 million revamping of Crawford Street in Queanbeyan''s business area, and the lack of grant funding available for community services.
He said he was aware of several other councils in NSW that were making similar moves away from providing community services.