Moreland Council to cut night-time and weekend home respite services

June 17, 2016

FAMILIES, the elderly and community care workers say they have been blindsided by Moreland Council’s decision to cut night-time and weekend home respite services, fearing it may leave the most vulnerable people without support.

But acting mayor Lita Gillies moved to allay concerns, saying the council would “never cut services out from under people”.

In a letter dated June 1 and seen by the Moreland Leader, the council said it would stop offering home support services on weekends and between 7pm and 7am weekdays from June 2, with clients to be progressively shifted to other services or different times over the next six months. It blamed cuts in state and federal funding and the 2.5 per cent State Government-imposed rates cap for the cost-cutting measure.

Coburg man Tomohiro Matsuoka, who uses the service one night a week for help with his 15-year-old daughter Sora who has a severe intellectual disability, said the first he heard of the changes was when he received the letter in the mail.

He said those affected should have been consulted. Mr Matsuoka said his daughter, who is non-verbal and requires “full assistance”, had developed a relationship with her carer.

Australian Services Union organiser James Weissmann claimed, like affected families, the first staff heard of the cut was on June 2, the same day the changes came into effect, and the union was now playing “catch-up” to find out how many staff would be impacted.

Mr Weissmann, who met the council on Wednesday, said the union had lodged a dispute over the way the council had handled the matter.

It is understood there were no planned redundancies for the 23 staff members affected by the move, but Mr Weissmann said the council was yet to provide the union with confirmation.

Cr Gillies said the council was working individually with the 92 clients impacted. She said Moreland provided home and community care services to 4355 people and there were no plans to reduce hours, only transition those receiving services outside core hours to within 7am to 7pm.

“This change will only occur where possible and safe to do so,” she said. “The only thing that is being reviewed is the times in which clients will receive those support services.”



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