Kelly defends feds on care funding

FEDERAL member for Eden Monaro Mike Kelly has said the recent upgrade to Crawford Street is a key factor behind Queanbeyan City Council's decision to no longer provide aged and disability care services on behalf of the state and federal governments.

Dr Kelly said that although local government was under financial pressure across the state, Queanbeyan City Council had made its financial situation "particularly difficult" by funding a capital works program including the recent $4.5 million CBD upgrade.

"The model where you have community operated [care] systems- there are issues about where the sector's going to go in the future with economies of scale competing against community groups.

"But of course I also know that Queanbeyan City Council is under a lot of pressure. They've got the financial commitments to meet with funding Crawford Street," he said.

Dr Kelly also rejected Council claims that the federal government hadn't been meeting its share of aged and disability funding.

"Generally speaking, the federal Government has radically addressed the aged care issue in this country which was in desperate need of attention. 

"We've had the $3.7 billion aged care reform program being implemented ... and it's part of a comprehensive, 10-year plan to reshape aged care. So it's the biggest investment in the sector for a generation," Dr Kelly said.

However Mayor Tim Overall labelled the claims "totally unfounded."

"One has to separate commonwealth and state grant-funded programs and recurrent funded operations ... from capital projects," Cr Overall said.

"Crawford St is just one of a number of capital projects we've undertaken and is totally separately funded, as were a number of other infrastructure projects of larger scale in recent years, like The Q theatre, the Library, and the Edwin Land Parkway stage 2."

Cr Overall said the decision to return management of the services to state and commonwealth bodies had been a difficult one for councillors to approve in a closed session meeting last November. 

However he said the current funding model was unsustainable, and Council was subsidising the State and Commonwealth to the tune of $1.8 million a year.

"They're state and federal responsibilities. They're not a core activity or service of local government. We've auspiced those services and been one of the larger manager of services in the region on behalf of the commonwealth and the state, and Council's decision is really to transition those services and concentrate on our core roles and responsibilities," Cr Overall said.

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