Australia NSW councils spending millions to subsidise state and federal healthcare, inquiry told

22:20  28 november  2021
22:20  28 november  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

Recycling industry rubbishes Queensland's waste levy, saying targets will not be met

  Recycling industry rubbishes Queensland's waste levy, saying targets will not be met An industry report says payments to help local councils deal with the cost of waste disposal has created "an incentive to direct more waste to landfill" and ratepayers are in the dark about the matter.Waste Recycling Industry Queensland (WRIQ) chief Mark Smith said the body conducted its own analysis ahead of an official review of the waste levy due by mid-2022.

The New South Wales and federal governments are being accused of giving councils no option but to subsidise health services.

Local Government NSW has lodged a late submission to a state parliamentary inquiry in remote, rural and regional health care in a bid to highlight how much the state and commonwealth are relying on small communities.

It lists how much some councils pay every year to ensure their towns do not lose doctors and so their medical centres can afford to stay open.

"Asking us to be responsible for core state and federal responsibilities – for example, health care – is just wrong," Local Government NSW president Linda Scott said.

Qld COVID test cost 'onerous': NSW premier

  Qld COVID test cost 'onerous': NSW premier NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says national cabinet needs to come to an agreement to subsidise COVID-19 tests required for people travelling to Queensland.Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has asked the Queensland government to reconsider its plan requiring fully-vaccinated travellers to get a PCR test if they want to enter the state.

"We have small regional councils spending up to four per cent of their total rate revenue on health care."

The submission names 21 NSW councils that feel they have had no option but to chip in, in some instances, hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.

Subsidising costs

The Forbes and Carrathool shires in the state's Central West and Riverina fork out a combined total of almost $700,000.

"It is the bleeding obvious — council shouldn't have to do this sort of stuff," Carrathool Shire Mayor Darryl Jardine said.

"However, we like to look after our residents — council feels it is necessary.

"It's over an hour to Griffith. Doctors there have full books anyway."

Many of the councils cover the cost of incentive schemes to help attract staff, pay for or subsidise accommodation, and waive landing fees for medical flights.

Kangaroos and toothless watchdogs

  Kangaroos and toothless watchdogs Good morning, early birds. Scott Morrison has slammed ICAC as a "kangaroo court" while telling critics of his toothless federal watchdog model to basically take it or leave it, and NSW is set to relax mask rules in the near future. It's the news you need to know, with Emma Elsworthy.Morrison continued that former premier Gladys Berejiklian’s treatment by NSW’s ICAC was “bad process and an abuse” — just to recap, she was being investigated because while treasurer and then premier Berejiklian was secretly dating then-MP Daryl Maguire and has been questioned over grants that were given to him, as Guardian Australia explains.

In the Carrathool Shire, the council even pays for a car for the doctor.

At Forbes, the council has helped to build a walk-in, walk-out medical centre.

"If we didn't build a medical centre in Forbes we would not have doctors," Forbes Mayor Phyllis Miller said.

"We also own the Aboriginal medical centre and we've done a lot of work with the Aboriginal people for their health services in Forbes.

"If we didn't do it, it wouldn't get done."

Local Government NSW warns that councils have had enough of spending ratepayers' money on services that should be delivered by the state and commonwealth.

Its submission calls for change "so that councils will no longer need to divert funding from core local government services towards providing incentives to medical practitioners to practice in their local communities".

Fairer care

Cr Miller said she did not begrudge council's involvement in funding local health care, but she did resent the data used by NSW Health to determine where health services were based.

"Some of their population projections are wrong, some of their catchments are wrong," she said.

"Forbes has a catchment of 65,000 people — we haven't got a catchment of 10,000.

"It's time governments stood up and noticed what we've been trying to tell them."

The submission also calls for local governments to be reimbursed for what they spend each year on healthcare.

Ms Scott said that would mean the delivery of vital community services would not be jeopardised.

"We hope ultimately this will be a legislated scheme to ensure that where councils are having to make emergency payments to hold our health systems together, that those payments are refunded by the state or commonwealth government," she said.

Local governments face their financial future as 'patterns of dysfunction' emerge .
Now cleaning up his fourth local council, interim administrator Viv May says a pattern in problematic councils is emerging.Cobar, Narromine, Bourke, and part of Warren in the state's west failed to get enough candidates to warrant elections while the Central Coast, Balranald, Wingecarribee, and Central Darling local government areas are all under administration.

usr: 0
This is interesting!