Swan Hill Rural City Council this week made an in-principle determination to conduct an orderly transition from community-based aged care services by 30 June 2024.
Mayor, Cr Les McPhee said that the decision came as many councils across Victoria are deciding their future role and focus, in response to the national reform of the aged care service system. The major change in the Commonwealth program is that funding to Council to provide these services will end.
“For many local governments, including some of our neighbouring municipalities, the option to withdraw from service delivery and develop valuable alternative roles to reach older people, has begun and is now in transition or early implementation stages.
“This in-principle decision allows Council officers to negotiate with the Commonwealth Government to formalise at least one appropriate provider, and agree on a transition end date, in order to ensure all existing clients are properly transitioned to a new service provider, so that their services continue,” Cr McPhee said.
Cr McPhee said Commonwealth-funded aged care programs delivered by Council will transition to a new model of care called the ‘Support at Home’ Program, which will be fully introduced in July 2025, as announced in the May Federal Budget.
“Council currently provides a range of funded community-based aged care services, on behalf of the Commonwealth, including services to assist elderly community members to remain independent in their homes.
“In preparing for these changes, we are focused on ensuring continuity of future service to clients and positive outcomes for all impacted staff, following the Commonwealth decision.
“Council will also use this time to determine what other roles it should play in supporting elderly residents,” he said.
Cr McPhee said that it is important to note that services will continue for clients of Council’s Community Care Services while this transition takes place, and the community and clients will be kept updated prior to any changes taking place. Letters are being prepared for all clients with more information, and Council’s Director of Community and Cultural Services Bruce Myers will be leading the work.
“Ultimately our priority is our existing clients and our staff, and that these services continue to be available to the community in the future. All impacted staff will be supported through this transition, and the additional12-month timeframe will allow for better outcomes to be assessed,” Cr McPhee said.
Cr McPhee said that Council had undertaken a large amount of work over the last decade in the lead up to this decision and would continue working to ensure that the best outcome is achieved for all.
For more information, please contact Swan Hill Rural City Council on 5036 2333.