Aged care shift

By Evelyn Leckie

MACEDON Ranges Council will stop providing selected aged care home support services as a response to ongoing Commonwealth reforms in the aged and disability services sector.

By 2020, the Federal Government plans to bring Victoria in line with all other states in regards to funding aged care services.

At last week’s council meeting, Cr Jennifer Anderson said the services council were choosing to phase out were of less risk to clients because other service providers were able to fill the gap.

Services affected in the Macedon Ranges include the ‘Home and Community Care Program for Young People’ for people aged under 65 or under 50 if they are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Council will notify the State Government of its intention to exit its agreement with the Home and Community Care Program for Young People by June 2020.

A spokesperson for the council said the agreement represented a small percentage of council’s home support services, which catered to 35 clients only.

“We’ve also seen no increase of demand with this service,” Cr Anderson said.

The Commonwealth Home Support Program for people over 65 years or over 50 if they are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander will also be affected by the reform.

Council will notify the Federal Government of its intention to exit its agreement to provide Meals on Wheels services by July 2020 and home maintenance and home modification services by July 2021.

Council said Meals on Wheels had been decreasing significantly across Victoria for several years and only 17 clients in the Macedon Ranges used the service.

The spokesperson said there were other ways council could ensure people accessed nutritious meals, and it was expected home maintenance and home modifications could be more readily delivered with a different contracting arrangement.

“Council will be working closely with services being phased out, the offices and staff across council are mindful of services that are provided and the clients we have. There’s a time frame for people to make adjustments,” Cr Anderson said.

Branch Secretary of the Australian Services Union Lisa Darmanin told the Review the union urged all councils that delivered in-home aged care services to continue delivering high quality services to their community.

“With an ageing population, in-home aged care, where people can remain in their homes supported by trusted carers, is becoming more important,” Ms Darmanin said.