10 May 2023

Cook Shire goes into bat for aged care in region

| Cape York Weekly
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COOK Shire Council has tabled a preliminary business case that addresses the need for aged care services through a regional partnership with the Hope Vale and Wujal Wujal councils.

Adopting the 2021 recommendations of the Royal Commission into aged care quality and safety, the preliminary business case examines four primary project components: the need and case for change, site concept masterplan options studies, indicative cost estimates and provides detailed financial and economic appraisals of the proposed project.

“There is an acute need to meet the growing demand for regional aged care services,” said Cook Shire mayor Peter Scott.

“Elders and aged residents who are no longer able to remain at home are left with little alternative but to leave their family and move hundreds of kilometres to obtain residential care services or secure dementia services.

“The pain and practicality of dislocation has resounding social and cultural impacts on our community members which is why we’re collaborating with neighbouring Aboriginal shire councils and state government departments to advocate for the case for change.”

The business case also includes consideration for a 40-bed aged-care facility for Cooktown, located on Cook Shire Council’s reserve for aged persons, with the entry on May Street, facilitating a dignified transition for local seniors from independent or supported living to high care aged care.

Cook Shire Council, with the full support of a working group that included representatives from neighbouring councils; the Local Government Division of the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning; Department of Seniors Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, engaged in extensive community and stakeholder consultations and fully funded the study.

“We all knew there was a huge gap in adequate aged care facilities in our region, however local councils simply don’t have the capacity, nor the resources to provide these services,” Cr Scott said last week.

“It’s imperative to the long-term health and welfare of our community, and of our neighbours in Hope Vale and Wujal Wujal, that state and federal governments address the issue.

“The business case now gives us the tools to advocate for that funding.”

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