Home service on outer
ALPINE Shire Council is investigating outsourcing its home and community care that includes 41 staff – almost 20 per cent of its workforce.
At present the service that supports frail older people and younger people to live in their own homes and also includes meals on wheels looks after 400 people.
But a report before councillors last night said cost pressures and new Commonwealth Government legislation makes that service unsustainable.
The council’s enterprise bar- gain agreement sees its workers paid almost 30 per cent more than the award used by the private sector.
Alpine Health, who has worked with council since 2011 to deliver these programs under the alpine@home banner, precipitated the debate when it submitted an expression of interest that would have phased out the council over three years.
Alpine Shire ratepayers have subsidised the home and community care service for about $375,000.
Alpine Health’s proposal would have seen that contribu- tion reduce to $200,000 next year, $100,000 a year after that and zero dollars by the third year.
“There’s merit in preserving the alpine@home continuum of care, but the argument to market test home care services is compelling,” the report concludes.
The report says federal laws would lock in existing providers for three years before the process was opened up to competitive tendering.
“Market testing is eventually inevitable,” it said.
“Market testing (also) has the potential to identify the best value service provider and immediately reduce council’s service subsidy to $0.”
But the report also acknowledges a desire to keep the service local.
It said Alpine Heath would be given the opportunity to re-tender.
“The continuation of the alpine@home service is viewed by the Alpine Alliance as the preferred service delivery model for community services in the alpine region,” the report to council said.
“This is reinforced by the communities’ strong desire for local services being provided to local people.”