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FORMAL STATEMENT – Health Services Update – Mayor Paul McVeigh

8 December, 2021

SCCQ CEO Jason Eldering, Mayor Paul McVeigh, CEO Jodie Taylor

At its Ordinary Meeting on Wednesday, 8 December, Council voted to endorse the signing of a contract to transfer Council’s aged and community care services to accredited not-for-profit provider Southern Cross Care Queensland (SCCQ).

The contract covers Carinya Aged Care Facility at Miles, Tarcoola Aged Care Facility at Tara, Council’s Home Care Services and all associated assets across the region.

This is a significant outcome for the region, marking the beginning of a new chapter for aged care services across the Western Downs, and providing an exciting opportunity to grow health services in the region.

Council has been negotiating with SCCQ under a Memorandum of Understanding since September 2021, and today’s milestone confirms a transfer completion date as at 1 April, 2022.

Council has a long-held vision to secure a specialist provider to grow health services in the region, and the successful completion of this transfer is pivotal to achieving our long-held vision to establishing quality aged services that deliver a wide range of care options for our residents.

Under the contract, Council has agreed to provide an investment of $11.88 million into the transfer to SCCQ which includes capital expenditure and service maintenance costs. All facilities, plant and equipment will also be transferred to SCCQ at no cost.

While the transfer will impact Council’s budget result for this financial year, Council will no longer be bearing the cost of owning and operating aged and community care services in the years ahead.

Council views this as an important investment in the future of the aged and community care in the Western Downs.

As a Council, we have never lost sight of our paramount duty of care to the community, and we are delighted to be transferring these services to a highly accredited, specialised provider like SCCQ.

We have been focused on reaching the best possible outcome for the entire region, all while ensuring our obligations under the Local Government Act to provide financial accountability, and we believe this has been achieved through this contract with SCCQ.

The Western Downs is no different to other regions when it comes to people wanting to access quality aged care in their senior years which is in region and close to their community.

Council believes the best way to achieve this is through the involvement of a quality, fully integrated aged care service provider such as SCCQ.

Because of its resources, established skilled workforce and extensive experience, SCCQ brings a highly specialised level of service to aged and community care in the Western Downs.

SCCQ currently employs more than 1,000 staff and provides services to more than 1,400 Queenslanders residing in 11 aged care facilities and five retirement villages as well as those in home care.

The organisation operates Illoura Residential Aged Care Facility at Chinchilla and has already demonstrated its commitment to ongoing investment in the region having this year announced a $28.7 million redevelopment of the facility.

Over the coming months, Council will be working alongside SCCQ to ensure a smooth transfer and will be assisting its plans to engage with residents, clients and staff. Council will also be consulting with staff and community stakeholders as the contract progresses.

Following the transfer in late March next year, Council will continue to be a vigorous advocate for the further expansion and improvement of aged and community health care for the region.

Advocating for services to support ‘whole of life’ care for residents is a key priority under Council’s Corporate Plan for the next five years, and Council will continue to play its part in ensuring our residents have access to quality services.

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