Majority of staff to retain jobs as Broken Hill City Council announces new disability services provider

Broken Hill City Council has announced its disability services department will be taken over by CareWest, with the "vast majority" of staff members to continue in their positions.

The far west New South Wales council made the decision to offload its Home and Community Care (HACC) service earlier this year.

It said it would not be able to compete once the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was rolled out in the far west from July 2017.

Orange-based CareWest will take over the HACC service from October, with most staff to continue under the new provider.

"Certainly CareWest has some probity matters that we need to go through, make sure that the staff from council meet our criteria," CareWest chief executive Tim Curran said.

"Our expectation is that the vast majority of council staff, should they choose, will be able to continue working for CareWest from October."

Mr Curran admitted the award that staff would be placed on by CareWest was less generous than their current Broken Hill City Council award.

"There is a different award that is in place that is used by CareWest and the vast majority of other community care providers," Mr Curran said.

Council's general manager James Roncon praised the conduct of staff and the Town Employees Union during negotiations.

"Obviously there was always going to be concerns, and staff would want to know what the impact on them personally was going to be," Mr Roncon said.

"What we've been able to do is put a system of communication and engagement in place over the last three or four months that really worked to address all of those."

No change for clients

Mr Roncon said there would be no disruption for clients, who would continue to visit the same centre in Gypsum Street.

"We're working with CareWest on the finer details in terms of the building and the leasing of it, and we anticipate that this'll be the centre for years to come," he said.

Mr Curran said there were still lingering questions about how the NDIS would work in Broken Hill, but he was confident clients would be better off.

"Yes, there's some uncertainty around how it's going to work and how we can do the work under the constraints of the award environment, but also delivering to clients who will exercise their right to choose exactly what services they want and when they want them," Mr Curran said.

"We don't pretend to have all the answers yet, but we're confident we can work them out."



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