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Council to investigate transition from aged and disability services

Care worker supporting a senior woman wearing facemasks

Mildura Rural City Council will undertake a three-month consultation process with a view to transition out of aged and disability service delivery.

The move follows an in-principle decision at the January Ordinary Council meeting and follows significant age care industry reforms which will see Council’s current contracts to deliver services on behalf of the Commonwealth Government end in June 2023.

The Commonwealth’s impending end to current Aged Care programs, and transition to a new model of care, has triggered a need for Council to determine if it is in the best interests of the community to continue as a provider of aged care services.

Mayor Cr Liam Wood stressed there would be no immediate changes to services currently delivered by Council while this consultation is carried out.

“This certainly isn’t a decision that has been taken lightly, but rather in the best interests of the valuable clients our teams have proudly served for many decades, our staff, and our ratepayers,” Cr Wood said.

“This will be a controlled and considered process, and our clients and staff will remain our highest priorities throughout any transition. All parties will be kept fully informed during this time.”

The Mayor said Council’s in-principle decision had been triggered by a number of factors – most importantly major Federal Government reforms to the aged and disability services sector which would require dramatic increases in client fees and costs to Council, threatening the viability of Council continuing to provide these services.

Council is contracted to deliver Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) services until June 2023, at which point all CHSP clients will transition to the new ‘Support at Home’ program.

Preliminary information available from the Commonwealth indicates agencies will register as providers of ‘Support at Home’ in a similar way agencies can register as a National Disability Insurance Scheme provider. Customers can then choose to receive services from an agency of their choice.

“Council has taken the preliminary view that it will not be able to provide services under the Support at Home model, for similar reasons it was determined Council could not provide services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and that it may be in the best interests of our community to proactively transition out of all aged care services,” Cr Wood said.

“Ultimately we need to make a decision to ensure these services will be provided sustainably into the future, and that there is no interruption to the level of care our community rightly expects and deserves.

“This is a shift that is being seen across many other local government areas throughout Victoria where Councils are needing to consider the balance between providing high quality care and value for money for ratepayers and clients.”

Council will now begin working with staff, clients, and the State and Commonwealth governments regarding this decision before making a final determination in May 2022.

Should a decision be made to exit out of Aged Care services, Council will then work closely with the State and Commonwealth Governments – and new providers – to ensure a smooth transition for staff and clients.

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