End of year start date likely for aged care home
A 144-bed residential aged care home for South Grafton could begin construction later this year and be operational by the end of 2019, says the company contracted to build and run the facility.
The CEO of Signaturecare, Graeme Croft, was in Grafton yesterday for a site visit by the Federal Aged Care Minister, Ken Wyatt.
Mr Croft said planning for the home next to the Grafton District Golf Club course was well advanced.
"We are just waiting for the State Government to agree to a compatibility report, which is with the minister now,” Mr Croft said.
"Our planners are well advanced with drawing up the plans for the site.”
Mr Croft said construction would be done with local companies.
The plans for the site, which was once two holes on the Grafton Golf Club course, have been controversial with the golf club originally planning to sub-divide the site as a residential development.
There had been opposition from neighbours to that sub-division, but there were no protests when the minister, company officers and golf club members met there yesterday.
Mr Wyatt said the Signaturecare development was important with the ageing of the Australian population, particularly in regional areas.
"It becomes the hub, not only for the people here in Grafton, but for those communities who border around Grafton, where there is no aged care facilities,” he said.
The minister said the economic opportunities arising from these developments were equally important for the community.
"It create jobs, it creates opportunities for local providers to supply the materials and resources.
"The other thing I think is good is the local tradies get the benefit having the organisation approach it at different times when they need particular jobs being done.”
The Federal Government has committed itself to $9.36million of recurrent funding for the Grafton facility, of which $6.5million would be for wages.
Mr Wyatt had a full program for his visit to Grafton. He began the day with a visit to the Whiddon Group facility in Grafton where he launched the organisation's HenPower project and took part in an intergenerational food program.
"I am pleased to launch Whiddon's HenPower program at Grafton and join residents and local high school students for a VintageBites session,” he said.
"Whiddon's creative ageing programs bring important wellbeing benefits to residents and the opportunity for lifelong learning, so senior Australians can continue to grow their skills, knowledge and creativity.
"I congratulate Whiddon on their new home, which now offers 110 residential aged care places and is supporting approximately 60 new jobs. I applaud their strong focus on keeping residents connected to their communities.”
After that visit, Mr Wyatt met Clarence Village chair Geoff Shepherd and Bulgarr Ngaru Aboriginal Medical Corporation CEO Scott Monaghan.
Mr Wyatt also downplayed the significance of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's 30th consecutive lost Newspoll.
Losing 30 Newspolls was a benchmark Mr Turnbull used to topple former PM Tony Abbott in 2015.
"Polls are often focussed when there might be a critical issue that impacts on people at the time,” he said.
"It was refreshing to look at The Australian this morning to look at what the issues were for each of those consecutive polls.
"They do have an impact on the way people respond to governments, but often, as you see in the past, polls give an indication of a direction but on election day people come back to who it is who will deliver leadership, who will deliver the outcomes the nation is seeking.”