Resident fears drop in services

EVERY Thursday morning, 91-year-old Queanbeyan woman Genowefa Bierzonski wakes up looking forward to her weekly social outing at the Council-provided Thursday seniors group.

She gets picked up by a Council bus and meets with up to 30 other local elderly residents, mostly widows like herself, and enjoys activities, a meal, and a chat.

"We're really happy there. It's like a big family," Mrs Bierzonski said.However Mrs Bierzonski and her daughter Jackie told

The Queanbeyan Age

they're worried the group won't survive the pending transition of Queanbeyan City Council care services to non-Council providers, and that elderly ratepayers would be worse off.

"That's the only outing they have in a week. It's their main social connection," Jackie Bierzonski said."It won't be the same [after transition]," she said.

"I've organised things for mum through agency groups in the past, and it was a disaster. Either no one showed up, or two people showed up and stood around talking to each other.

"But the Council carers have been angels. They are so caring, and if mum's got to pay a bill or go to an appointment or something and I can't be there, they help her do that on the way home. You won't get that [level of care] anywhere else," she said.

Queanbeyan City Council is transitioning its aged and disability care services back to state and commonwealth providers due to what it said was an increasing subsidy of these services from local ratepayers worth around $1.8 million a year.

NSW Minister for Ageing and Disability Services, Andrew Constance told The Queanbeyan Age he was working with Council to ensure a smooth transition of services.

"Queanbeyan City Council (QCC) has provided notice to the State and Commonwealth Governments that the services they are providing will be relinquished. Transition planning is underway to ensure minimal to no disruption for people with disability, older people, their families and carers," Mr Constance said.

"Local service providers will be selected by the end of April, with service transition to be completed throughout May and June 2013. This will be a collaborative approach for all Government agencies involved, both at the State and Commonwealth level. 

"Queanbeyan City Council has been working with State and Commonwealth Government agencies to ensure the seamless transition of services to ensure that people with disability, older people, their families and carers are supported at the same level they are now," he said.

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