Murrindindi Shire decided to withdraw from providing aged and disability services at its meeting on Wednesday 27 March following a strategic review of policy.
The council web page with information about forthcoming community sesssions – https://www.murrindindi.vic.gov.au/aged-and-disabilty – does not exist, returning a ‘404 Page Not Found’ error.
Council Mayor Sandice McAulay said it was not a decision council made lightly. The shire will work with new providers to provide a smooth transition and council will continue to support – and advocate for – the elderly and disabled.
“Council will then work closely with the new providers to support a smooth transition of the service and clients. This transition will also provide an opportunity for existing staff to be considered for roles with the new provider.
“Ensuring our community receives continuity and quality of aged care and disability services has been and always will be a priority for Council.
“Council will continue to focus on support for older people and people with a disability more broadly by providing information, advocacy and service planning Council will always be here to support older people and people with a disability,” Cr McAulay said.
“We spoke at length with current clients of these services, as well as our community, staff, volunteers and other providers of aged and disability services throughout a comprehensive review process.
“The review process began in July 2018. We wrote to our clients advising of the review and kept them up to date on the progress of the review through a newsletter.
“We then held two community consultations – one in Alexandra and the other in Yea – in September last year, which more than 60 people attended.
“We advertised these events widely – through print media, radio and social media.
“In November we held a community focus group. We also wrote to all our clients inviting them to join us at these meetings to have their say,” Cr McAulay said.
“This was a difficult decision for Council to make. We know a number of our clients would prefer Council to keep providing these services, but we also know what underpins this is our clients’ need for quality and reliability in the aged and disability services provided to them.
“We had little choice but to review our provision of aged and disability services. The Commonwealth Government is making significant changes to the way it funds these services.
“The introduction of the Commonwealth Aged Care reforms and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) reforms is changing the way aged and disability services will be funded and operated into the future.
“This has created considerable uncertainty for many councils, with only three councils continuing to provide aged and disability services into the future in our [state] region of Hume.
“Council has made the decision to withdraw from direct service delivery because we believe that there are other community-based providers who are better placed to deliver high quality services flexibly and effectively to meet the needs of our community.
“We needed to act now to provide more certainty for our clients in the future.
“It’s important to note there will be no immediate changes for those who rely on our services or for our staff who deliver these services. Clients will continue to receive reliable, high quality aged or disability services through the transition period, which we expect to take somewhere between six and nine months.
“As for the future of aged and disability services in Murrindindi Shire, Council will support the Commonwealth and State Governments in their process to identify alternative provider/s who can take advantage of the funding changes and provide greater choice and flexibility in how services are delivered.
“We know there is some uncertainty in the community about what the changes will mean. So we are holding a number of information sessions early in April to talk through some of the detail.
If you’re feeling worried about what these changes might mean for you or for your loved ones, I encourage you to come along,” Cr McAulay said.
For more information about the forthcoming information sessions, see www.murrindindi.vic.gov.au/aged-and-disabilty (page not found) or phone (03) 5772 0333.