In stark contrast to Nillumbik Shire, Murrindindi Shire will endorse a withdrawal of council from the direct provision of aged and disability services funded through the Commonwealth Government and the Victorian Government on Wednesday 27 March.
Council has conducted a review of their role as a service provider in response to Commonwealth Government Aged Care reforms and the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The reforms will significantly change the way aged and disability services are funded and delivered. They are intended to provide more choice for people who rely on these services and greater flexibility in the way services are delivered.
This has created considerable uncertainty for many councils, which have traditionally relied on guaranteed funding from the Commonwealth to provide a standard range of local services.
Director of Corporate and Shared Services for Murrindindi Shire Council, Michael Chesworth said that many people with an interest in aged and disability services in our Shire would be aware that Council began reviewing its role as a service provider in July 2018.
“We have been talking to our community, staff, volunteers and other providers of aged and disability services during this review. Our primary focus has been on ensuring that those who rely on our services will continue to receive reliable, high-quality support and care in the future following the introduction of the reforms,” Mr Chesworth said.
“At its March Meeting, Council will consider an officer recommendation to withdraw from being a provider of aged and disability services. The recommendation also includes consideration of how Council will work with the Commonwealth and State Governments to identify alternative provider(s) who may be better placed to take advantage of the funding changes and provide greater choice and flexibility in how services are delivered.
“By making this decision now, Council will be in a better place to both support the appointment of an alternative service provider (or providers) and assist them and our clients and staff in a smooth transition to the new arrangements before the funding changes are introduced.
“The officer report recommends that Council stay actively involved throughout the transition process to support a new service provider (or providers). It also recommends that [the] Council continues to play a role in supporting older people and people with a disability in our community through service planning and navigation, advocacy and community information into the future.”
“Council will take the officer recommendation into consideration at its meeting but will make its own decision based on what it thinks is the best outcome for the community.
“Whatever the outcome on 27 March, there will be no immediate impact on those receiving our services. If the decision is for Council to move away from delivering these services, Council will work for as long as it takes to ensure the transition to new service providers is smooth for our clients,” Mr Chesworth said.
“Ensuring our community receives continuity and quality of aged care and disability services has been and continues to be our priority,” Mr Chesworth added.
IMAGE: Murrindindi Shire Council/SUPPLIED.