THE feedback is in about the Surf Coast Shire’s Positive Ageing Service Review, and the community has expressed its desire for the council to make no changes to the services it provides.
The shire is reviewing its services in response to the national aged care reforms and the introduction of the NDIS. The changes, most of which will come into effect by 2020, mean councils will not automatically be the provider of aged services in their area, so the Surf Coast Shire is investigating how the changes could affect the services it provides.
The shire exhibited an options paper and discussion paper earlier this year, which drew 133 submissions and 242 people providing feedback at community group meetings.
A summary of submissions presented to councillors found “most respondents would prefer no change and for Council to remain their service provider”.
“If change is unavoidable, 40 per cent of respondents would still prefer Council to remain their service provider even if it costs a bit more, while 35 per cent would prefer Council to carefully relinquish services via an extended exit plan – there is no support for a compressed exit plan.”
Clients are concerned about access to services, a possible increase in the cost of services, a possible reduction in the quality of services, and navigating a complex service system alone – concerns echoed at the hearing of submissions meeting held on Tuesday night.
Stephen Blake said the description of the shire’s $1.35 million subsidy towards aged and disability care as “a burden on the community” was “in bad taste”.
“If this comes down to a monetary sense, that’s leaving the elderly to one side. If this was put out to a public forum, most ratepayers would contribute more to look after the elderly in this community.”
Issues raised in the submissions will be considered at the council’s meeting on July 24.