Victoria’s Baw Baw Shire Council has confirmed it will step away from delivery of direct care aged and disability support services from June 30 next year.
In a statement, Council said the decision to withdraw from aged care services was due to significant State and Federal reforms in the aged and disability sectors.
“The reforms involve major changes to the way home support programs are funded, planned and delivered,” Council said.
“Their aims are to increase the number of service providers, and create more choice and flexibility for consumers. As a result of the reforms the role of local government in delivering direct care services has been reduced.”
Last year, Council had proposed to maintain the delivery of Meals on Wheels, assessment service, property maintenance, social support groups, carer support, community transport and volunteer programs.
However, it has since received advice from State Government that Council’s intention to maintain delivery of some services does not align with State Government policy for the community services sector.
“This is a difficult decision for Council and one that is not made lightly. We will continue to assist where possible with the restructure to aged and disability sectors. Our residents remain our top priority and we are committed to ensuring they continue to receive high quality support,” said Mayor Danny Goss.
“Council understands this decision impacts our staff, our clients and our community. We thank our staff who do an exemplary job in looking after those who require assistance and continue to work with them throughout the transition process.”
“As a result of the State Government position, Council has made the difficult decision to cease delivery of all services to people aged under 65 and Aboriginal people under 50, and Carer’s Support Programs from 30 June 2022.”
Council will however continue to deliver Meals on Wheels, assessment services, property maintenance, social support groups, community transport and volunteer programs to people aged over 65.
“This transition will directly impact three staff who will be supported by Council and will receive their full employment entitlements,” Council’s statement today reads.
“Council has commenced work to make sure all impacted clients (approximately 190) will have access to another service provider that can provide continuity of care should it be required.
“Council will continue to support existing clients to understand the choices available and to transition service arrangements when required. Impacted clients will be contacted by Council in advance of any changes to services.
“The decision to withdraw from these services mirrors that of other Councils in Victoria and Gippsland who are going through or have gone through a similar process.”
It said Council remained committed and would be exploring what services it can deliver to support people that need assistance and to ensure they remain connected to the wider Baw Baw Shire Community.
“Council’s service provision within the aged and disability sector has changed as the State Government has changed the program delivery. We understand this transition from Council led services taken over by private providers will be a difficult one for the many recipients involved,” said Cr Tricia Jones.
“As always, Council is fully committed to making sure our residents have ongoing access to a range of quality providers and the continuity of the services that they need. I thank all staff impacted by these changes for not only for their dedication to their work, but their commitment to caring for members of our community.”
For more information on Council’s Aged and Disability services transition, please see the media release from 12 March 2020.