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Bass Coast Local News:
Home Care Services Stretched To The Limit

Bass Coast Shire Council has advised that the Shire’s elderly residents face the prospect of severely reduced home care services if funding issues are not addressed by the State and Federal Governments.

By Bass Coast Shire Council - 23rd October 2001 - Back to News

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Bass Coast Shire Council has advised that the Shire’s elderly residents face the prospect of severely reduced home care services if funding issues are not addressed by the State and Federal Governments.

Due to State and Federal government cuts, local councils are now being forced to contribute increasing amounts to home and community care services.

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has recommended to councils that they do not increase their contributions to home care.

MAV President Cr Brad Matheson said that councils had traditionally been expected to contribute 20% to the cost of the service, but this had now blown out to an average of 33% and was expected to continue to increase. Bass Coast Shire Council currently contributes 47% to home care services.

“Councils should cap their contribution until the Federal and State governments meet their obligations,” Cr Matheson of the MAV said.

“The Federal and State governments are blaming each other for the crisis in home care.

“It’s time for them to stop arguing and find the funds as councils cannot continue to prop up the system,” he said.

Cr Miranda Sage, Mayor of Bass Coast Shire Council, said that the Federal Government funding formula must be changed so that home care services received a fair share of the aged care budget.

“At present, a disproportionate amount of federal funding goes to residential care, whereas the money spent in the community to keep people safe and comfortable in their home is money well spent,” said Cr Sage.

Cr Sage said that currently Victoria got an annual increase of only 3.6% while other State Governments received an annual increase of 6%.

Bass Coast Shire Council has resolved to take the funding fight up with the Federal Government and also candidates in the forthcoming Federal election. Council has met with Mr Peter McGauran, federal member for Gippsland, to discuss this issue.

“Aged care services are at a breaking point as a result of increased demands, escalating costs and a failure of Federal Government funding to keep pace with current growth levels,” Cr Sage said.

“The amount of money Council has to find through increased rates in order to keep home and community care services afloat is totally unacceptable.

“Bass Coast has a higher than average proportion of older people living in the Shire, and this will only increase as more and more people retire to the area,” said Cr Sage.

“We’re finding it increasingly difficult to meet today’s demand, let alone the future demand we face.”

Council’s contribution to home and community care services has increased from $330,932 in 2000/2001 to $419,357 in 2001/2002.

“In some cases we are forced to provide only the minimal amount of care of 1.5 hours per fortnight to clients because there is simply more demand than we can fulfill under current funding arrangements,” said Cr Sage.

“This is clearly inadequate in supporting our frail older people to remain in their own homes with comfort and dignity for as long as possible.

“Home and community care is a vital service to our elderly residents and provides them with a means of maintaining their independence safely.

“While we are making every effort to reduce the impact on our elderly in the community, unless the current government funding arrangements are rectified there will come a time when Council will have to severely curtail the services we can provide.

Cr Sage urged residents to let local members of parliament know of their disappointment in the level of federal and state government funds distributed to local government, the largest home and community care provider, for delivery of these vital services to our frail elderly and disabled residents.


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