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This article was published on 24 August 2012. The information contained within may be out of date or inaccurate. News articles and media releases older than 60 days are archived for future reference.
Council sends strong message on cuts to aged care
Greater Shepparton City Council has protested against State government cuts to the Home and Community Care (HACC) program at its August meeting on Tuesday.
Councillors resolved to refuse to accept the additional costs associating with maintaining HACC service levels as a result of the funding cuts which equate to around 1,800 hours of service delivery.
Council will also write to the Minister for Ageing and will meet with local Members of Parliament to advocate for an improvement to base funding and indexation rates.
"We use the HACC funding to provide services to some of the most vulnerable people in our community," said Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Michael Polan following the meeting. "We simply can't keep absorbing this kind of cost shifting that is being imposed on local Councils, and especially not when it affects vulnerable groups like the aged."
The Commonwealth agreement on the HACC program with the States includes a 60:40 split in the funding. The Victorian Government has provided approximately 47 per cent of the funding state wide, and locally Council contributes approximately 12 per cent per annum.
As well as cutting the level of funding by 2 per cent, the Victorian Government is also reducing the indexation rate. Simon Rose, Acting Director Community, said that the cut in indexation meant that every year, that gap in funding would continue to grow and Council simply couldn't afford to commit to funding that ever-increasing gap.
"This reduction in funding means our waiting lists are likely to grow," Mr Rose said. "We want to ensure that people with acute needs are being looked after, but those with a lower level of need may end up having to wait longer for services, and that's the message we hope the State government will hear."
Greater Shepparton City Council currently provides around 26,000 hours of domestic assistance, 13,000 hours of personal care, and 12,000 hours of respite care. The age and circumstances of residents receiving these services are likely to be in the 65-75 year old age group who are primarily reliant on a pension for income.
The combination of the funding and indexation reduction will result in an approximate 4 per cent cut in HACC services.
- Released 24 August 2012