Wheels keep on turning for community transport 

COMMUNITY transport in both the Goulburn Mulwaree and Upper Lachlan Shire areas has received a saviour in the form of Home Care.

Home Care Services, which runs under the department Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) and also Family and Community Services (FACS) has agreed to keep the service going for at least 12 months, with work underway to find a long-term provider.

A Transport for NSW spokesman told the Post that a substantial amount of funding will be provided towards the service over a 12 month period.

“All community transport for the Goulburn Mulwaree/Upper Lachlan shire LGAs will be maintained after Goulburn Mulwaree Council relinquished the service,” he said.

“Home Care will provide the service for 12 months while a long term provider is identified.

Transport for NSW is providing around $276,000 and is confident services can be provided within that funding.

“Transport for NSW understands Goulburn Mulwaree Council has spoken to affected staff, but the status of council employees is a matter for council.

“We are confident that services can be provided adequately within that funding.”

A spokesperson from Family and Community Services also told the Post that the service would be running ‘business as usual’.

“We’re obviously working within a tight time frame to get the service to the customers by the deadline of March 1,” she said.

“We want to ensure that all drivers who want to stay and keep providing the service will keep their jobs.”

A transition plan is still being drawn up, and the spokesperson said that the manager and CEO want to be across all the details of the plan by later this week.

“We will be hosting a formal meeting with our managers to ‘dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s,” she said.

“We will also be asking the current drivers if they would like to stay on, and will also be conducting a recruiting process to find even more drivers for the Southern Region as a whole over the coming weeks.”

Council’s Community services manager Jim Styles told the Post that he had been discussing with some of his staff since late last year that under the new management all workers and drivers would keep their jobs.

The service provided by Council employed four staff members (two part time and two full time) and also regularly utilised volunteers, who were reimbursed for the use of their private vehicles.

More than 2500 people use the service regularly, with the majority of them pensioners.

The service is also provided on a needs basis, not to generate profit, meaning people aren’t turned away if they cannot afford to pay.

“Home Care are still currently in the process of looking at what resources they’ve already got and what additional staff they will need,” Mr Styles said.

“I think they will definitely need more resources to maintain the service.

“We have been negotiating with our staff since late last year as to the security of their jobs, and we’ve given the staff a range of options- whether they want to continue working with us, whether they want to work with Home Care, or whether they would want to cease working with Council. One member of staff actually put in her resignation effective from today- she was working part time with us, but has now managed to secure a full time position with another business. Ultimately though, it’s up to our staff as to what direction they choose to take.”

The formal transition process is expected to occur on March 1.

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