Why is this important?
Local government is one of the most important, and in some places the major, provider of aged and disability services in local communities.
Local Government Aged Care services provide vital supports to Aboriginal people and their families and often include activities such as assessment and care management, home care, property maintenance, personal care, meals, planned activity groups and respite services.
Aboriginal community members aged 50 years or older can access these services under the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). A program which is funded by the Australian Government and aims to provide a range of entry-level aged care services for older people who need assistance to keep living independently at home and in their community.
What can your council do?
- Develop strategies that ensure Aged Care services are delivered in a culturally appropriate and responsive way
- Engage with the local Aboriginal community organisations to build, plan, develop and implement aged and disability services
- Undertake cultural audits of their aged and disability services to identify whether there are barriers for Aboriginal people using these, and take appropriate steps to make services more inclusive.
The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey found that less than a third of councils deliver Aboriginal-specific services aged care or programs.
Good Practice Examples
The City of Ballarat Home and Community Care services staff work to deliver the Grampians Regional HACC Plan. Through this, the Council is involved in making assessments, referrals, education and cultural awareness training. Partners include the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative, Western Regional Co-operative and the Department of Health and Human Services. The arrangement is supported by an Memorandum of Understanding signed in February 2012. The partnership works well, taking into consideration Aboriginal clients who prefer to access these services through the local cooperative, rather than Council directly.
Gannawarra Shire Council runs a Planned Activity Group to support Aboriginal Elders, with a program that includes cooking classes, shopping on a budget and trips to nearby towns.
Each Friday, the ‘Lifelong Movers’ group meets at the Dandenong Oasis for a fitness program that includes both land based and water activities. The program has been going for some years in partnership with the Aboriginal Cooperative in Dandenong. It also includes health information and assessments by a nurse from Southern Health. Wresacare (an organisation providing respite for people with a disability) has been a partner in providing the program and has assisted with the costs for the trainer, as has the City of Greater Dandenong in the past. This has been a solid partnership for assisting clients to achieve and maintain their fitness, while also providing the opportunity for socialisation.
Last Updated: March 20, 2019 at 11:10 pm