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Cloncurry Q.A.T.B. to be Handed Over to the Government?
At the financial meeting of the Cloncurry Ambulance Brigade which was held last Saturday afternoon, a notion was moved by Mr. J. J. Garland, seconded by Mr. A. Guteridge that a recommendation as follows, be placed before the general meeting to be held tomorrow afternoon in the Brigade rooms “that the Cloncurry Centre of the Q.A.T.B., being unable to carry on financially under the voluntary system, be handed over to the Department of Health and Home Affairs and to be under the control of the Cloncurry Hospitals Board.”
There is much to be said for and against the recommendation. In the first instance, it is competent for the Committee in its jurisdiction to hand over the Brigade to the Government without first obtaining the sanction, of the contributors, who, after all, are really the main support of the brigade?
What authority has the Committee to commit, such an act?
If the Ambulance had been run on business lines, as should always be the case where public money is involved, and has failed, has the Committee fallen down on its job?
At the moment the Brigade has a credit balance of £57/l8/3. This is but “chicken feed”, as the monthly expenditure exceeds the £100 mark. February account alone being £138/70/1. Receipts for the month totalled £253/9/11 which included arrears of Government subsidy and this saved the financial position thus far, but as coming events cast their shadows before, one can readily conclude that “it won’t be long now.”
The Ambulance Brigade conducted under the voluntary system, depends on the bigger percentage of its income from donations. For every £ collected the Government grants a subsidy of 7/6.
A rather discouraging canvas was made of the town just recently and the total receipts from the appeal were a few pence over £16. By the same token, it has been suggested that the appeal was half-hearted and far from thorough.
Country contributors and donors are in the vast minority. Although it was widely and distinctly advertised that car mileage is to be paid for all trips outside the town area, such payment is almost negligible, but then again, are accounts issued to those responsible for the requirement of the service, or is the brigade big-hearted and frightened to shake the charity box?
There has been idle gossip that those in charge of the brigade's practical administration from time to time, have been lax in their duty, but can it ever be said they failed to live up to their motto “Ready Always” when properly called upon?
Although it would be another case of private enterprise going under to government control, would the scheme function more efficiently in its entirity if handed over to the Department? Finance, the crux of the present set-up would be the least of its worries. Again would more employment, better hours, better cars, and better accommodation ensure?
The local Ambulance which has always been regarded and felt as a charitable institution, under the administration of the Department of Health and Home Affairs may tend to ease the Social Service Contribution “pill” which every tax-payer finds so hard to swallow.