CHANGES to federal legislation could result in the Surf Coast Shire making sweeping cuts to the Positive Ageing and disability care services it provides, so the council is seeking feedback on what it should do.
The shire is reviewing its services in response to the national aged care reforms and the introduction of the NDIS.
The reforms are aimed at increasing consumer choice to ensure services are efficient and cost effective.
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 shire is investigating how the changes could affect the services it provides.
Surf Coast mayor David Bell said the council was planning ahead and keen to learn community views.
“The national reforms mean that council will have no choice but to change its services, so the prudent thing is to plan ahead of time.
“We did a first round of community engagement in 2017 and have now done further research to develop a Discussion Paper and Options Paper.
“We’re seeking people’s views before we make a decision on council’s future role in May this year.
“Essentially we want to test whether the council should still provide a competing service if there are appropriate alternatives.
“One thing the council has already committed to is that we will not leave the community without a much-needed service. Appropriate services must be available. And whatever changes we decide upon won’t be implemented overnight – it will take time to get it right.”
The shire presently subsidises its aged and disability care services by $1.35 million per year.
“That is a significant cost for ratepayers, especially given the fact that rate capping limits how much revenue the council can raise through rates,” Cr Bell said.
Existing clients will receive a copy of the discussion paper and a questionnaire in the mail.
To get the same material, phone 5261 0600 or head to surfcoast.vic.gov.au/haveyoursay. Submissions close on April 9.