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Buloke Makes Final Decision on Aged Care Services

Buloke Makes Final Decision on Aged Care Services

Publish Date: 13 April 2023

After careful consideration Buloke Shire Council has made its final decision to withdraw from its Commonwealth Government funded role for home support service provision for aged care and people with a disability.

Council made the decision at the April Council Meeting following an in-principle decision made in February to undertake genuine and far reaching consultation with clients, families, staff and other stakeholders.

The provision of these services has been an important part of the Buloke Shire Council’s operations for nearing 40 years, however with the comprehensive changes to be introduced as the Commonwealth Government progressively reforms the national aged care system, Council, like many other Councils, has reviewed its position and decided to exit service. The decision to withdraw from services at this time, aims to support the Buloke community through a transition process and limit the potential risks or impacts to services prior to the national reforms taking full effect in 2024.

The reforms focus on the improvement of quality, safety and choice in aged care services. They address the need to simplify the process for clients, improve the standard of care and provide clients and carers alike with more choice and control.

There is no change to services and there will not be any changes to the co-ordination of services until a new provider is appointed and commences operation.

Mayor Cr Alan Getley said that the decision was made after a long and detailed process and review of the Commonwealth Government reforms and Councill’s ability to be a provider in the new climate.

“As we all move towards the end of next financial year when the Support at Home program kicks off, Council will no longer operate in a system where we are effectively holding a monopoly on this service provision. Instead, we would move into an open market setting where Council just can’t compete,” Cr Getley said.

“The Support at Home program will open up the market giving both greater choice and control for clients and payment structure changes that will make it incredibly difficult, if not impossible for a small rural Council to deliver these services with no ability to subsidise with rate payer funds.

“In making this decision now, Council will be able to work with the Commonwealth and State Governments to find suitable providers and work on a tailored transition process to ensure our most vulnerable residents are not left behind”.

Chief Executive Officer Wayne O’Toole thanked all current and previous staff for their efforts in providing an outstanding service to the community.

“This decision is in response to significant changes in the aged care sector and in no way a reflection on the service levels and care provided by our staff. In fact, during consultation over the last six weeks we have heard consistently about the high-quality care and compassion provided by our employees,” Mr O’Toole said.

“Our staff should be incredibly proud of the kindness, caring and compassion they’ve displayed in their roles. Our community is indebted to them.”

The Commonwealth government will be the final decision maker to determine which providers are appointed to the Buloke area for the interim period and transition process, prior to the new National Support at Home program commencing from July 1 2024.

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