Tag Archives: Aged Care Reform

Council reimagines Community Transport

OLDER RESIDENTS in Manningham will enjoy a wider range of transport options after Manningham Council announced it would expand its Community Transport Service in 2023.
Manningham Mayor Cr Deirdre Diamante said Council was excited to offer this to the community.
“This is great news for older adults in Manningham as it will significantly improve their access to community transport and connection to the community.”
Manningham has a high proportion of older residents.
In 2021, nearly a third (28.3 per cent) of the municipality’s residents were over 60.
Cr Diamante said Council is committed to offering services to municipality residents that support healthy and positive ageing.
During the February 28 meeting, Councillors voted to support an expanded community transport service, particularly for elderly residents.
As people get older, sometimes they need to give up their driver’s licence, but public transport is often unsuitable for older adults, particularly in Manningham, which only has a bus network.
So for the last few years, Council has been trialling a community transport network to enable senior residents to take a small bus with a well-trained driver who takes people to daily shopping, medical appointments, or social clubs such as seniors clubs.
“We found there was this incredible demand for people to get to where they wanted to go,” said Cr Diamante.
As part of the trial, the community bus service was increased from three to five days a week and included more destinations and improved access for more users.
This allowed more older adults in Manningham to go shopping, attend seniors’ groups and join social activities.
But there is still a need for extra services like transport options for bigger groups and one-on-one services, such as for medical appointments.
Cr Diamante said Council looked at what specialist transport providers offered.
“There are people out there who specialise in transport for older adults, many of them have multiple buses — some have more than 60 buses, and this could provide many more opportunities.”
She said that providers are not constrained by municipal boundaries, unlike a Council-run service, so they can go to the Austin or Box Hill Hospital for medical appointments.
“Some of these services even match volunteers up with older adults so that they can wait with the person while they have their medical appointment and then bring them back again,” she said.
Other services Council is imagining include the provision of buses to special events, like Carols by Candlelight, Warrandyte Pottery Expo, or Warrandyte Festival.
Council will now seek tender responses to partner with a specialist community transport provider to offer this expanded service.
Residents will still have to pay a modest fee for the service, which could be paid via MyAgedCare or other funding for eligible residents.
Cr Diamante said this is not intended to be a cost-cutting measure for Council.
“We will invest a similar amount of money to what we are now — but residents will get a better service.”
She said creating better community transport services for residents has been part of the Council Plan since 2020.
Council expects to have a provider on board by July 2023.

Aged Care reform

Following the Royal Commission into Aged Care, the Federal Government has adopted the Commissioners recommendations, reforming the way services are provided to elderly Australians.
The Commonwealth has developed a new model of care called Support at Home and announced a start date of July 1, 2024.
Following this, there has been a range of reactions from local councils, with some municipalities making the decision to withdraw from the provision of services such as Meals on Wheels and At-Home Care such as bathing assistance and shopping.
For example, in January, Corangamite Shire Council made the “difficult decision” to no longer provide in-home aged care services from July 1, 2023.
Corangamite Mayor Ruth Gstrein said the Commonwealth had developed a new model of care called Support at Home and announced a start date of July 1, 2024.
Mayor Gstrein said Council had accepted that the reformed services would be best delivered by alternate providers, who could offer clients a greater range of services.
“It was certainly not an easy decision for Council to make, but it needed to be made due to such transformational Federal reforms,” Cr Gstrein said.
“We also recognise that the new service being developed by the Commonwealth and the much-needed reforms are best delivered by specialist providers — a sector that has grown considerably over the last decade.
“The open market will provide much greater choice for clients, and Council will look at delivering alternative programs to support its residents,” the Corangamite Mayor said.
Manningham Council discussed the Aged Care Reforms as part of Confidential Business at their February 28 meeting, the details of which have not, as yet, been released.
When the details have been made public, the Diary will outline if there will be any changes to the service that Manningham Council will be delivering.