The people of Mossman in Far North Queensland have been waiting 20 years to get an aged care facility in their town, and yesterday they got one step closer, with 42 bed licences awarded to The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus.
But in a cruel lottery-like feature of the Aged Care Approvals Round, the provider was unsuccessful in its application for a capital grant, so the town with a population of 1,700 will have to continue its wait for a facility.
Currently older people who live in and around Mossman have to travel up to 80 kilometers to access residential aged care services.
The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus and Mossman District Nursing Home Incorporated (MDNHI) came together in 2011 to realise the town’s long-held aspiration for a residential facility, which has involved campaigning politicians and local representatives.
Salvation Army Aged Care Plus CEO Sharon Callister yesterday welcomed the 42 bed licences, which she said would bring them closer to providing residential care in Mossman.
But she expressed disappointment at missing out on the capital grant.
“We now have the land and the licenses to build a residential aged care centre in Mossman and we will be turning all of our efforts to raising the money to build it as quickly as we can, so that the people of Mossman can receive the services they need, without having to travel long distances,” she said.
Marj Norris, president of MDNHI, said the allocation of the licences was a milestone in what had been a long battle to see appropriate residential aged care services available in her community.
However, she said she was not stopping to celebrate. Along with the rest of her colleagues and the local community, she was turning her efforts to raising the necessary money to build the services.
“Currently, older people who live in and around Mossman must travel up to 80 kilometres to get the residential aged care services they need. This places huge stress on families. The sooner we can build a residential aged care centre in Mossman, the better,” Ms Norris said.
Warren Entsch, Liberal MP for Leichardt, said he had been involved in the campaign to establish an aged care facility in Mossman since 1996.
“I’ll continue to work with the committee, The Salvation Army and the community until we secure an appropriate level of funding to complete this project,” Mr Entsch said yesterday.
Mossman was just one area that yesterday received aged care and community care licences from the Federal Government in the annual ACAR.
Opal Aged Care, which secured the largest share of new residential places, some 966 licences, announced it would be building new aged care facilities in Blacktown, Wentworthville, Toongabbie, Cabramatta and Penrith in Western Sydney, and at North Lakes and Kawana in Queensland.
The provider said it would invest $250 million across 11 residential facilities, creating over 1,000 jobs in the industry and as many jobs in the construction industry.
“We feel honoured to have been awarded these places by the Federal Government and we take seriously our commitment to deliver high quality residential aged care in these communities where the demand for specialist residential aged care is high,” said Opal Aged Care managing director Gary Barnier.
Elsewhere, in Victoria, TLC Aged Care said its successful application for 445 new residential beds – the largest allocation in the state – marked the start of its $120 million investment strategy.
Chief executive officer of TLC Aged Care, Lou Pascuzzi, said TLC had received 95 per cent of the total bed numbers it had requested.
“I believe our model of integrating primary care into aged care, combined with our commitment to invest $120 million into the Victorian aged care sector, has been recognised by the Department of Social Services.
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