Aged-Care organisation wins right to expand bed capacity, but is not awarded funds to pay for it.
A new 90-plus bed aged-care facility for the region is a step closer after Shepparton Villages was awarded more beds to form part of an expansion and redevelopment of Tarcoola’s Hakea Lodge.
However, the development could still be years away from completion after the organisation was denied funding for the new building.
The aged-care facility was allocated 33 new beds as part of the Commonwealth’s Aged Care Approvals Round for this year.
The new Hakea Lodge development will be built on Shepparton Villages-owned land on the corner of Maculata Dve and Balaclava Rd.
Shepparton Villages chief executive Kerri Rivett said the allocation was a coup for the organisation, being the biggest number allocated in the Hume Region.
“This will be the biggest, locally owned residential care facility in the region,” she said.
Ms Rivett said the expected expansion would also create flow-on benefits for the region, including the employment of about 50 additional staff members.
Shepparton Villages board chairman Stephen Merrylees said the expansion and bed allocation was proof a localy-owned operation could succeed among metropolitan-based providers.
Capacity for the 57-bed Hakea Lodge is already at 98 per cent, and Ms Rivett expected that to increase with the peak of the baby boomer generation and people delaying their entry into aged care.
However, Ms Rivett said the announcement was bittersweet, as a $5million application for a funding grant from the Australia-wide $103 million capital grants pool to redevelop Hakea Lodge was unsuccessful.
“It was disappointing, but we’ll still be moving forward. Hakea Lodge needs to be replaced, it’s coming to the end of its life and it’s almost 30 years old,” Ms Rivett said.
“We’ve started the preplanning. It will take a while to plan for a development of this size and hopefully at some stage late next year we’ll be putting a shovel in the ground.”
The organisation is calling on the community to help raise part of the $22 million needed for the 90-plus bed facility, which will have state-of-the-art equipment.
Mr Merrylees said the organisation had recently run two fundraising campaigns for Acacia House and Rodney Park and hoped the community would once again show its generosity.
He said management and the board would work with the local members of parliament to lodge funding application s next year as well.
By Jenna Bishop - As published in the Shepparton News, Tuesday, December 9, 2014