Home ser­vice on outer

Myrtleford Times - - NEWS - By BRAD WOR­RALL

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.”

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