By Jessica Micallef
Macedon Ranges council is set to scrap its Meals on Wheels service, as well as a home and community care program.
In response to reforms in the aged and disability services sector, the council will stop providing these services as early as next year.
Residents using the services will need to search for alternative providers.
Currently 17 residents use the meals on wheels service provided by council, while 35 people use the community care program, which provides services for young people with a disability, chronic illness or short-term health needs that do not meet the National Disability Insurance Scheme [NDIS] eligibility criteria.
The council’s community wellbeing director Karen Stevens said the HACCPYP service is currently supporting 35 people and the council had not seen an increase in demand.
“The challenge with that program is that it’s still funded by the state [government] and therefore has a whole set of other requirements and standards that we need to meet,” she said.
“The scales are just not there to respond to those requirements for such a small service.”
The council will notify the state government of its intention to stop providing the service by June 2020.
The council’s meals on wheels will be phased out by July 2020 and home maintenance and modifications will stop by July 2021.
In a confidential report presented to council, 14 local and regional providers have been identified to provide the home and community care and meals on wheels programs.
“These services are of small scale … and could be delivered in other ways,” Ms Stevens said.
“We know that there is a mature market of alternative providers currently providing services in the shire.”
The council said there would be no immediate loss of jobs and very few jobs would be affected as the changes are implemented over the coming months.
The council will help clients with the changes and will support residents while considering options, choosing new providers and planning transitions to new services.
“It’s really important to have a timeframe that is a reasonable timeframe for people to make adjustments and to ensure that each client is managed individually through the process,” Ms Stevens said.