More than 2000 people have signed a petition calling for a dedicated respite centre in Queanbeyan, as the demand for such a service becomes “overwhelming”.
Along with the petition, a letter was presented to the office of Member for Monaro and deputy premier John Barilaro, who said he has sought support from the relevant minister for the project.
Campaigners Paul Walshe, Yvonne Cuschieri and Hugh Percy believe there is a great need in Queanbeyan for a respite care centre catering for all ages, illnesses and disability.
“Local doctors, medical professionals, business owners, carers and residents have put their signatures to this petition, all agreeing there’s a desperate need for a purpose-built centre in Queanbeyan suitable for younger to middle-aged people,” the letter presented to Mr Barilaro said.
”The sad reality is that carers currently have very few options available for respite care and, in some cases, no alternative but to utilise nursing home care.”
Mr Barilaro acknowledged receipt of the petition and said respite care was an important issue.
“Carers are an invaluable part of our community and it’s important that they are provided with support.”
He said he had met with the campaigners previously and outlined “strong support” for the project.
“I have written to the relevant NSW minister seeking support for the project and I hope to be able to provide an update on this matter to the group very soon.”
Mr Walshe said it was a step in the right direction.
“It sounds positive,” he said. “At least they want to listen.”
Mr Walshe said he had been having discussions with the Ricky Stuart Foundation board, who run a similar facility in Canberra, about the process they went through to get their project off the ground.
“I get a feeling, talking to some of the board members, that they really want to help, especially given Ricky came from Queanbeyan,” Mr Walshe said. He said it was now a matter of keeping the proposal front of mind for both the community and politicians, to ensure carers were provided the breaks they needed to re-energise and be able to continue their responsibilities.