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Aged Care withdrawal

Aged Care withdrawal

Campaspe Shire Council announced their decision on aged care and disability services

Campaspe Shire Council has confirmed it will withdraw from delivering aged and disability services at last night’s meeting.

This confirmation follows an in-principle decision made in May where Council agreed to undertake an expression of interest process to identify a suitable provider to deliver services currently provided through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

The decision comes despite a petition presented to Council in August which received almost 3,000 signatures protesting the withdrawal.

Mayor, Cr Adrian Weston, said the petition impressed upon Councillors how much the service is valued and the importance of its high standards of delivery.

"In some ways, that's an expression of how valued and appreciated the service is and certainly Council is aware of and acknowledges that."

The Mayor said the process has been completed and Council is confident the preferred provider meets the four guiding principles set.

"The principles were set to ensure any change to a new provider was managed to protect the interests of our clients, families and carers, staff and the community."

The four principles were:

- Ensuring equity of access to services based on need and regardless of geographic location
- Providers demonstrating a strong safety system to protect both staff and clients
- Providers holding a similar ethos or values as council, eg. a commitment to the health and wellbeing of our community and a commitment to reinvesting back into the community
- Providers demonstrating a commitment to quality care with proven results through Commonwealth Aged Care quality processes.

Since making the in-principle decision Council has held three information sessions for clients, their family and carers, a volunteer information session, ongoing meetings with staff, as well as a number of mail-outs to provide updates.

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The decision to move away from providing aged and disability services follows a number of reforms in the sector. The reforms highlight local government will not be able to compete effectively or viably in the changing marketplace, and a growing number of Victorian municipalities have transitioned, or are in the process of transitioning, out of aged care service delivery.

"A recommendation will now be made to the Commonwealth Government of our preferred candidate and we will now await their final decision," the Mayor said.

"The Commonwealth Government will now undertake their own review and it is hoped an announcement of the new provider will be made before the end of the year."

The decision also affects services provided through the Home and Community Care Program for Young People, funded by the Victorian Government.

"This is a relatively small program and the Victorian Government has indicated that it will follow the lead of the Commonwealth in appointing an alternative provider," Cr Weston said.

Once approved, Council will support its clients and staff through the exit process and will offer its full support to the new provider in planning for, and starting delivery of both funded programs.

It is likely that Council will cease delivering all funded and brokerage aged and disability services by the end of May 2020.

Council will however continue its strategic planning and advocacy roles in the aged and disability sector and has recommended funding be considered to develop a Positive Ageing Strategy in next year’s budget.

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