The newly formed Northern Inland Aged and Community Care (NIACC) alliance includes Bingara’s Touriandi Lodge, Coonamble Hostel Association, Mackellar Care of Gunnedah, McLean Care of Inverell, Merton Living in Denman and Moree’s Fairview Retirement Village.
Sue Thomson, McLean Care CEO and the inaugural Chairperson and Company Secretary of the NIACC Board of Directors says as community-owned and operated organisations in regional Australia, we are always looking for better ways to deliver quality services, in the most efficient and effective ways, that keep people and communities at the centre of our endeavours.
“We want to continue to inspire seniors and their local communities to engage with local community owned organisations, to remain active and well, and we want to promote a diverse, vibrant and meaningful perspective on ageing, with less reliance on Government assistance to do so,” she says.
Merton Living’s General Manager and inaugural NIACC Vice Chair and Public Officer Shani Mitchell highlights as a very small provider, policy and legislation has become the administrative nightmare. “Being part of the NIACC alliance will mean that we have access to the support of like-minded, passionate, and highly knowledgeable people when we need it most, without losing our local identity,” she says. “We will have greater access to resources, a bigger voice in the sector, greater buying power, and most importantly, it will keep us viable, and give us a sustainable future in our local community.”
Jenny Brown, Manager of Touriandi Lodge and NIACC Director also believes the alliance will give regional, rural and remote, community owned and operated aged care providers the economies of scale that a large corporate organisation enjoys, whilst maintaining autonomy and unique local identity. She highlights other benefits include giving her organisation a strong presence, opening up many more opportunities and strengthening its ability to serve its seniors.
With increased legislation and cuts to funding, alliances such as these are becoming increasingly common across Australia. Last year three Western Australian community care providers, Care Options, Community First and Volunteer Task Force joined to create a new entity with an expanded range of services, while independent central coast providers Peninsula Villages, Adelene Retirement Village, Central Coast Community Care Association and Evergreen Life Care came together to form PACE Aged Care under a shared services organisational model.
Also on the Central Coast, Meals on Wheels Central Coast (MOWCC) and Home Instead Senior Care (HISC) have started offering a combined service of meals and in home care services.
Aged & Community Services Australia National Chief Executive Officer Pat Sparrow thinks alliances such as these are very positive for providers to work together to be as sustainable and efficient as possible.
“They will enable services to continue in smaller areas and also will enable the smaller providers to survive,” says Ms Sparrow.