At the Hobsons Bay City Council Meeting scheduled for 7pm, Tuesday 19 February 2019, the council will consider an item closed to the public in relation to Community Care services in Hobsons Bay, and in particular, in-home support services. I have received many calls and emails about this in recent weeks, so in the interests of openness and transparency I thought I would write about this on my website to clarify my position.
The Local Government Act permits matters to be considered in confidence and without the public present if they meet certain criteria, and as this matter involves a tender, the council has grounds to consider this matter in camera. I believe the decision regarding whether council outsources in-home care should be done in public.
Aged Care is at a cross-roads in Australia with many things happening that can change the landscape considerably in the sector over the next 12 -18 months. There is a federal election in a few months, and the Royal Commission into Aged Care is currently underway and due to provide a report with extensive recommendations next year. The Royal Commission’s terms of reference includes consideration about support needed to assist people to remain living at home as they age – which is directly relevant to the matter being considered by the council.
My position is that home care should remain a service provided directly by the council to the community, so I support the continuation of in-home support services to the 1,649 Hobsons Bay residents that receive the 70,000 hours of support services provided by the council each year. It is one of the services our community values most, and ensures our most vulnerable residents receive quality services in their home and are afforded high levels of care, dignity and respect. I’m proud of the services the council delivers to people needing assistance to remain in their homes, and want to see them continue in its current form.
Note: As the matter on the agenda is deemed confidential, I will not disclose anything contained in the report or recommendation as required by the Local Government Act 1989 (Vic.).