21 October 2021

Queanbeyan Respite Centre edges closer to development but still no luck on operational funding

| Max O'Driscoll
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Queanbeyan Respite Centre

Artist’s impression of the Queanbeyan Respite Centre from May. Photo: Supplied.

Despite being on the verge of submitting a Development Application for the new $1.5 million Respite Centre in Queanbeyan, organising charity “Respite Care for Queanbeyan” is yet to be informed whether they will receive annual funding of $1 million which has been estimated as the ongoing operational cost of the facility.

With the planning process for the building all but complete, chair of the Respite Care for Queanbeyan Board Paul Walshe, said the focus has turned to putting pressure on the federal and state governments to provide the necessary funding.

“It’s been slow going I must say. I’ve gone around in circles in a lot of ways. I’ve had a lot of Zoom meetings, a lot of letter writing but I just can’t seem to get any traction with either government,” said Mr Walshe.

READ MORE Speechless Tascha becomes the voice for a new respite care centre in Queanbeyan

Respite Care

Respite Care for Queanbeyan board members Hugh Percy, left, and Paul Walshe with plans for the facility on the site in Queanbeyan. Photo: Michael Weaver.

He believes the most likely source of funding will come through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

A representative of the Minister for the NDIS, Senator Linda Reynolds, responded to an email request sent in August on Tuesday (19 October) but Mr Walshe and the board have told Region Media that the response was “unsatisfactory”.

Mr Walshe is growing increasingly frustrated with the process, particularly as the calls f0r this facility continue to come from within the community and local medical profession.

“When I talk to the people who are out there at the coalface dealing with this, and that’s from a nursing profession, a medical profession and from carers, there’s an absolute need for this type of respite facility in Queanbeyan,” he said.

Mr Walshe believes he will have until the building’s completion date, which he estimates will be some time towards the end of 2022, to secure the required funding. He views the 2022 federal election and Monaro by-election as potential opportunities to rally the community and put pressure on their local MPs.

He used the example of the “Leo’s Place” facility in Canberra, funded by the ACT Government, as proof of the viability of such a project and is confident that once the facility in Queanbeyan opens up, that viability will be undeniable.

Kristy McBain

Kristy McBain has publicly pushed for the Respite Care Centre in Queanbeyan. Photo: Kristy McBain Facebook.

Federal Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain, reiterated her prior support for the project and promised to continue in the fight to see the centre funded.

“Young people in Queanbeyan shouldn’t be forced into an aged care facility when they are seriously ill. This project is incredibly important to the Queanbeyan community and I applaud Paul Walshe and everyone involved in helping Respite Care in Queanbeyan come to fruition.”

“While it’s great this project is nearing completion, the stark reality is for the centre to operate it needs recurrent funding. I am committed to seeing respite care in Queanbeyan and will continue to bang on doors to ensure it receives the funding it deserves,” she said.

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