Sign of aged care discontent

By Tyla Harrington

MORE than 2500 people have signed a petition protesting Campaspe Shire’s vision to remove itself from aged care and disability services.

That effort has shocked the woman who started it, Echuca’s Marlene Orange, who did not expect to get so many signatures on the dotted line.

But she said she was not surprised people were anxious about council’s in-principle decision because she believes it will have serious repercussions for staff who will be made redundant and clients who will receive services from a new provider.

Ms Orange has submitted the petition to council but whether it will have an impact on the overall decision remains to be seen. And she has no plans to stop there.

‘‘I want to form an action group, I don’t think the petition is enough,’’ Ms Orange said.

Council continues to emphasise that any exit from service delivery by council will not affect the level of service provided by the Commonwealth.

It maintains the federal government will continue to fund aged care and all clients will receive the level of service they are approved for.

‘‘Council will work with clients, their families and any new provider(s) to ensure that client care requirements continue to be met at all stages of any change,’’ council’s regulatory and community services general manager, Paul McKenzie, said.

‘‘Council’s in-principle decision is underpinned by four guiding principles.

‘‘Two in particular — ensuring equity of access to services based on need and regardless of geographic location and commitment to reinvesting back into the community — will ensure a local connection.

‘‘Part of council’s ongoing role is to ensure the community has equitable access to services, and that clients living in the more rural parts of our shire will not be disadvantaged.’’

Anyone interested in joining the action group or helping Ms Orange should phone her on 0409 445 287.