Council endorses major transfer deal with Southern Cross Care Queensland

Western Downs Regional Council has signed off on a major contract to transfer its aged and community care services to accredited not-for-profit provider Southern Cross Care Queensland (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.

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said the signing of the transfer contract was a significant outcome for the entire Western Downs community, with both parties now to commence the transfer process towards a completion date of 1 April, 2022.

“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.

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.

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.

“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.

Southern Cross Care Queensland employs more than 1000 staff and provides services to more than 1400 Queenslanders residing in 11 aged care facilities and five retirement villages as well as those receiving in-home care.

The organisation already operates the residential aged care facility, Illoura in Chinchilla, in the Western Downs, and has recently announced a $28.7 million redevelopment of the facility.

SCCQ Chief Executive Officer Jason Eldering said he was delighted to confirm the signing of the contract between Western Downs Regional Council and SCCQ.

“We know this partnership will support those in our communities with aged care needs through residential and community care,” Mr Eldering said.

“We are now on track for a settlement and transition of business on 1 April 2022.

“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 Western Downs Regional Council and we thank Mayor Paul McVeigh, Acting CEO Jodie Taylor, and the dedicated staff and volunteers for their support over the past months.”

Maranoa MP David Littleproud proactively worked with the community, the Western Downs Regional Council and Southern Cross Care to ensure aged care continuity for our 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. 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.

View the full Mayoral Statement here:

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