Hepburn Shire Council has made a final decision to withdraw from delivering aged and disability services.

Council has been a long-term provider of aged and disability services for the community.

Mayor, Cr Tim Drylie, said that this was not an easy decision for Council, but the interests of clients, families and carers, staff and the community was central to making this important decision.

“Significant and continuing reforms by the Commonwealth Government means that Council is not best positioned to continue providing these services,” said Cr Drylie.

Reforms involve major changes to the way home support programs are funded, planned and delivered. The aim of these reforms is to increase the number of service providers, and create more choice and flexibility for recipients of services. These reforms have resulted in a reduced role of local government in delivering direct care services, making it difficult for councils to continue.

The Commonwealth Government is responsible for the selection and appointment of any new provider of services. However, Council led an Expression of Interest (EOI) process to identify and recommend an appropriate “values aligned” provider.

“The EOI process was conducted on a confidential basis to identify and recommend a potential values-aligned future provider. Having made the decision to withdraw from the delivery of this service, we will now make our recommendation to the Commonwealth.  They will make the final decision on whether the provider is selected to take over service delivery,” said Cr Drylie.

We will be notifying the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments of the decision to exit. While Council will cease direct service delivery, it will continue and enhance its roles in supporting the community and is in the process of developing a Positive Ageing Strategy.

“We remain committed and will be exploring what services we can deliver to support people that need assistance, particularly older people, people living with a disability and vulnerable members of the community.”

“Council will continue to fund and deliver a range of programs and services, including our commitment to the development of a Positive Ageing Strategy. We will work closely and constructively with the new service provider during the transition period and into the future,” said Cr Drylie.

“Vulnerable members of the community will continue to be protected and supported beyond the transition period.  We are also committed to providing support to our committed staff, many who are nearing retirement age or may be transitioning to other service providers.”

Bradley Thomas, CEO, said that staff have been kept informed and supported throughout this decision-making process.

“We value the important contribution our staff have made to the community in the sector.  We will continue to provide them with support as we near the transition date of 30 June 2022,” said Mr Thomas.

For more information on the decision, including frequently asked questions, visit https://participate.hepburn.vic.gov.au.