Hindmarsh Shire Council asks state government to step up aged care funding

HINDMARSH Shire Council has signed the state government’s Age Friendly Declaration Statement of Support, but slammed the lack of financial commitment to the scheme.

The state government and Municipal Association of Victoria project aims to address the loneliness and social isolation that senior citizens experience. 

At a meeting on Wednesday, council agreed to sign up to the scheme but criticised the practicality of the government’s financial backing.

Cr Wendy Robins, Cr Rob Schneider and Cr Rob Gersch spoke in favour of the scheme in principle. 

Cr Schneider and Cr Gersch criticised the government’s $2.2 million of project funding, which would be distributed across participating Victorian councils over four years. 

“I want to move we write to the minister and thank him for the program but also encourage the government to increase the pool of funding,” Cr Schneider said.

He said the project had his support and gelled well with council’s positive aging inclusive policies.

“Of course we should be signing,” he said.

“But when you read details of the funding commitment it goes with, it’s minuscule. 

“In our communities one of the biggest problems is getting about and accessing services.

“You don’t always have a footpath – we could spend $2.2.million on a footpath alone.”

Cr Schneider said without funding council could only do so much to address infrastructure problems and make towns more accessible. 

He said Dimboola’s post office was a big accessibility issue.

“I can’t count the number of people who have fallen from those steps,” he said.

“There’s a two foot drop from the door to the ground.

“The only way to fix that is money and $2.2 million isn’t going to fix it.”

Cr Rob Gersch said the funding was over four years, so council would receive $50,000 a year.

“We could spend that ourselves, let alone if it’s spread around many councils,” he said.

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