Southern Cross Care Queensland (SCCQ) and Western Downs Regional Council, have signed a major contract to transfer Council’s aged and community care services to SCCQ.
The landmark agreement marks the beginning of a new chapter for aged care services across the Western Downs, providing an exciting opportunity to grow health services in the region.
The transfer includes Council’s aged and community care facilities including Tarcoola Aged Care Facility in Tara, Carinya Aged Care Facility in Miles, Council’s Home Care Services, and associated assets across the region.
SCCQ Chief Executive Officer Jason Eldering said he was delighted with the signing of the contract, after many months of collaboration and negotiations between the partners.
“Today marks an exciting step forward in our quest to grow communities where best lives are lived, with the co-signing of the contract to transfer all Western Downs Regional Council’s aged and community care services to Southern Cross Care Queensland (SCCQ) from 1 April 2022.
“Crucially, this opportunity to provide our services to more rural and regional communities and leverage our ongoing partnership with Council, and other key stakeholders, will support our ongoing commitment to establish new and innovative models of ageing for regional Queenslanders.
“We have already begun and will spend the coming months meeting with and listening to each community we will serve in the Western Downs and as a not-for-profit provider of quality, compassionate aged care services for more than 40 years, we are looking forward to becoming part of the Western Downs.
“We are delighted to reach this milestone with Council and we thank Mayor Paul McVeigh, Acting CEO Jodie Taylor, and the dedicated staff and volunteers for their support over the past months,” Mr Eldering said.
Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said the signing of the transfer contract was a significant outcome for the entire community.
“This transfer is pivotal to achieving Council’s long-held vision to establish a quality aged service in the Western Downs that delivers a wide range of care options for the future of the region,” Cr McVeigh said.
Under the contract, Council has agreed to invest $11.88 million in SCCQ which includes capital expenditure and service maintenance costs. All facilities, plant and equipment will also be transferred to SCCQ at no cost.
“This transfer of assets will impact our budget result this financial year, however Council views this as significant investment in the future of the aged care in the Western Downs,” Cr McVeigh said.
“We are delighted to be transferring these services to a highly accredited, specialised provider like SCCQ. This is an investment in the future of aged and community care for the region and ensures our residents can age in place.”
Cr McVeigh said Council has 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.
He said the demand for improved aged care was growing throughout Australia and would only increase as more of our population reached retirement age and beyond.
“The Western Downs is no different to other regions when it comes to people wanting access to quality aged care in their senior years,” he said.
“We believe 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 specialised level of service to aged and community care in the Western Downs.
“This is a momentous decision for Council, which has been working hard behind the scenes to secure a specialist provider to improve and grow our region’s health services.
“Following the transfer, I can assure residents that Council will continue to be a vigorous advocate in support of quality aged and community health care services across 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 we will continue to play our part in securing new and improved services for the region,” he stated.
Maranoa MP David Littleproud proactively worked with the community, the Western Downs Regional Council and Southern Cross Care Queensland to ensure aged care continuity for local rural communities.
“It’s a tragedy when our seniors are forced to move away from their rural community – and everything they’ve ever known – to a larger town or city to receive care as their needs change,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Southern Cross Care’s commitment to the Western Downs means our seniors can remain in our region as their needs change, close to the support of family and friends and with the necessary facilities to ensure the best of care.”
Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise General Manager for Health Jaden Frame said SCCQ had the ability to bring a new and improved level of aged and community care to the residents of Western Downs.
“It is a great move for the region, an excellent investment into the future of healthcare in the Western Downs and an important step forward,” Mr Frame said.