Staff

Click here: STAFF UPDATE (17 May 2024):
AGED CARE AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

What is happening? 

We have made the regrettable decision to stop providing some of our services in South-East Queensland from 30 September 2024.The decision was made with careful consideration and exploration of other options. 

This is not a reflection on the great work of the Queensland team which has provided excellent services to the community for over 10 years.  In fact there are many instances where the Queensland team has gone above and beyond to support clients during natural disasters, the pandemic and other challenges.  

Funding from the Department of Health and Aged Care is not enough to cover the costs of providing services.  We have been looking for solutions to help us continue, but inadequate funding and the rising costs of items like fuel and utilities mean we have been running these services at significant loss. Since 2018 these services have run at a loss of more than $2.2 million and as a not-for-profit organisation we are not in a position to continue to support this. 

Unfortunately, as a result of this decision, some staff may be impacted. This may include management and we will need to look at the structure in QLD going forward.

The services impacted across Jimboomba, Raceview, Lowood and Southport are:  

  • Commonwealth Home Support Package: 
    • Community transport, including NDIS transport
    • Social Support – individual and group supports 
    • Meals on Wheels and Food pantry
    • Goods, equipment and assistive technology (alarms) 
  • Active Living Program for Seniors 
  • Emergency relief program  

 We will continue servicing existing clients until 30 September 2024, and hope that the Department of Health and Aged Care will identify a new provider to continue these services after that date. We will work collaboratively with the Department as it searches for a new provider. 

We will continue to provide our existing NDIS and DSOA funded services in the region. This includes supported independent living and positive behaviour support. 

What does this mean for me? Will I still have a job? 

There are 49 staff in South East Queensland, with 18 working in impacted services. Anyone who is personally impacted by this decision will be spoken with individually and start a period of consultation. 

Staff working in NDIS and DSOA funded services are not affected by this change. This includes Supported Independent Living and Positive Behaviour Support Services. 

If this isn’t happening until September, why are we discussing it now? 

Given the critical services we provide clients, we needed to give them as much notice as possible and have enough time to work with the Department on a potential transition to another provider.  

To honour our values and be respectful of our staff, we felt we should let everyone know about this decision as soon as possible and start consultation with you to discuss potential impacts on individuals and consider any feedback you may have. 

We know that this introduces a longer period of uncertainty for our staff, but we felt it was the right decision to be open with our approach.  

 When is this happening? 

  • Able will stop providing these services on 30 September 2024.  
  • We are making this announcement and talking to our staff, volunteers, clients and stakeholders during the week starting 29 April 2024.  
  • Between now and 30 September 2024, we will continue to provide services to clients and will work collaboratively with the Department of Health and Aged Care.  

 What have we done to try make these services sustainable?  

We have had extensive discussions with the Government for some time about the inadequate funding of aged care services. This has been an ongoing issue for over ten years, but it has not been addressed.  

Across our programs we have ensured a lean service model, heavily supported by a large force of volunteers and the donation of goods and money.  

We have also made numerous grant submissions to prop up funding along the way.  

However, the gap between the cost of service provision and funding is still too wide.  

The services being stopped are funded by different funding sources. Why do they all have to go?  

Most of the impacted services are funded under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). However, our services rely on each other to be sustainable, and aren’t viable without the other.  

What happens next? 

Now that the news has been shared, we’ll begin a period of consultation to gather views and ideas about how to make the next few months as smooth as possible for staff, clients and their families. We will consider all feedback received during the consultation phase. 

There are two potential options for staff with roles that have been impacted by this decision:  

  • Redeployment: We will explore suitable alternative positions within Able for staff impacted by this decision. We will be working through a new operational structure for Queensland over the coming weeks, and staff will be invited to contribute through the consultation process.  
  • Redundancy: If we are unable to find suitable redeployment opportunities for impacted roles, then a redundancy may be offered.  We will work with you to provide you with the most suitable support for your circumstances.   

We will keep working to make sure our services to clients continue and that staff are kept informed about the process leading up to 30 September 2024. 

We will keep everyone updated about the process as it unfolds and aim to continue to support clients and minimise any disruption to them.  

How can we support each other?  

This may be an unsettled time for many staff, volunteers and clients and we recognise that emotions will come and go over the next few months. We will provide as much support as possible during this time. 

Likewise, we hope that

  • our staff, volunteers and clients will support each other, and work together to ensure that services continue to be provided with minimal disruption;
  • that volunteers realise the immense value that they bring to the services provided; and
  • that staff are recognised for the critical support that they provide as part of these programs. Please continue to support each other during this time and reach out to your usual Able team member or EAP if you need help. 

It is important to remember that staff and volunteers have each played an important role in these services over the years, and provided excellent services to the community. 

What happens if I leave Able before services stop being delivered?  

This will depend on individual circumstances and we’ll continue to consult and work with you about your situation.  

What does this mean for our clients?  

  • Our clients will continue to receive services through to 30 September 2024.  
  • We’ll continue to communicate regularly and share news about the process.  
  • We want to reassure all our clients that no changes to their services will happen immediately or without as much notice as possible.

What does this mean for our volunteers?  

  • We hope that our volunteers will continue to provide these critical services to clients through to 30 September 2024.  
  • As with our staff and clients, we are committed to transparent communication. We’ll continue to communicate regularly and share news as the transition period progresses.  

Will there be any redeployment or redundancy opportunities for other South East Queensland staff? 

There are no plans for any other redeployments or redundancies in NDIS or DSOA funded services.  

Will any other Able services in South East Queensland end or be moved to a new provider?  

There are no plans to change the provision of NDIS or DSOA funded services.  

Are there any changes to VIC, TAS and ACT? 

There are no changes to services provided in VIC, TAS and ACT.  

 What is ‘consultation’, and how long is the consultation period for staff? 

The consultation period is your opportunity to ask questions and raise any concerns you have about the decision and any impacts this may have on you. We welcome your feedback and suggestions on how we can make the transition as smooth as possible for staff, volunteers and clients. 

We expect our consultation to take a number of weeks. There is no specified time limit for consultation under the Social, Community, Home care and Disability Services Industry Award (SCHADS) and we will keep you regularly updated about how consultation is progressing.  

What happens to team members who work in NDIS and DSOA funded services?  

During the consultation period, we will review the Queensland team structure and design a new framework to best support the remaining disability services.  We will consult all impacted staff throughout this process. 

What will happen to these services between now and 30 September 2024? 

  • We will continue to provide services to our clients until this date.  
  • We will work with the Department to assist in finding another provider. As this process will be led by the Department, we don’t yet know what this process will involve. The Department has a dedicated team that manages transitions.  
  • If any changes occur, we will work with staff, clients and volunteers throughout the process.    

What happens if another provider is found before 30 September 2024?  

We’re committed to trying to find redeployment opportunities for staff where we can. If there are opportunities for staff to move to a new provider, we will help to facilitate this.  

What happens if I move to a new provider?  

As this process will be led by the Department, we don’t yet know what it will involve.  

Speak to our People team members to understand more about your personal situation.  

When will I hear more about this?  

  • We will continue to talk with affected staff over the next couple of weeks and throughout the consultation period.  
  • We will report back to the Queensland team on our conversations with the Department within the next month.  
  • We have a program of regular updates to all clients, staff and volunteers through until 30 September 2024. Updates will also be available at https://ableaustralia.org.au/aged-care-funded-services/. 

Who can I talk to if I have questions? 

If you have questions, you can email Meagan Downie Knowles or Donna Heydon at people@ableaustralia.org.au or call 03 9046 0538.    

We acknowledge that this is a significant change which may be unsettling, and you may want some additional support during this time. We encourage staff to access free and confidential counselling though our Employee Assistance program provided through D’Accord, by calling 1300 130 130 or emailing enquiries@daccordoas.au. 

EAP staff will be available on Tuesday 30 April and Wednesday 1 May at our Jimboomba and Raceview sites. 

If you have Union membership, your Union will be able to advise and support you. The Change Impact Statement for this decision has been provided to the Australian Services Union (ASU).