QUESTION MARK: The councillors want the program to continue but don't want to foot the bill.
QUESTION MARK: The councillors want the program to continue but don't want to foot the bill. Iain Curry

School vaccination program at risk thanks to bureaucrats

THE council-run School Immunisation Program's future is uncertain, with the agreement with Queensland Health due to expire at the end of the year and be renegotiated.

Mayor Wayne Kratzmann said it was getting harder to get contract nurses to provide the program, and there was concern a new agreement might come at a financial cost to the council.

"We don't want to have to pay for it, but this is too important a service to lose," he said.

"I'm getting sick and tired of doing service for the community that should be provided by the State Government.

"Ninety-eight per cent of the taxation money goes to the State and Federal governments, and they need to step up and be accountable for what they need to provide."

Councillor Ros Heit spoke in favour of only negotiating a new agreement that would be cost-neutral or cost-positive for the council.

"I'm a huge supporter of vaccinations. I think they're very important," she said.

"I just don't see that council has got to fund all of these things.

"It's to do with education, which is State Government, and it's to do with Queensland Health.

"The Federal Government sets out the schedule of vaccination, and I definitely think it's important that it should happen.

"I just don't see why council should subsidise it."

The councillors voted against refusing to agree to a new program if there was a cost to council, but Cr Damien Tessmann said if the council was to subsidise the program, ratepayers would be paying twice.

"Ratepayers are paying for it through the GST that we pay and registrations," he said.

"I don't think it would be unreasonable to go along to the government and remind them that there is such a thing as a constitution that sets out health will be the responsibility of the State Government."