David Littlerpoud MP David Littlerpoud

Maranoa MP David Littleproud statement regarding the closure of the Tarcoola Aged Care facility in Tara

July 23, 2021

I am deeply disappointed to learn of Western Downs Regional Council’s decision to close the Tarcoola Aged Care facility, and I understand there is great upset in the Tara community.

The Federal Department of Health has been working closely with the local council to ensure continuity of care for residents.

I understand the Council is in negotiations with a third party who is in the final stages of a due diligence process. Despite having an interested party, the Council has made the decision to close its Tarcoola facility, which I understand to be as a result of staff shortages.

Western Downs Regional Council has advised that “Tarcoola has experienced unacceptably low clinical staffing levels for an extended period of time. Despite extensive efforts to attract and retain suitably qualified and experienced clinical staff, staffing levels at Tarcoola remain unacceptably low.”

The Department of Health has advised a staffing solution was offered to Council and available to commence as early as this week, however WDRC chose not to pursue this option.

Council were also encouraged to contact the Department if the costs of these resources were prohibitive, so that additional support could be considered.

Our rural communities are crying out for skilled workers across various disciplines, particularly in the aged care sector – This is why the Government is investing $338.5 million over three years to grow, train and upskill the aged care workforce to drive improvements to the safety and quality of care experienced by senior Australians.

This includes specific financial incentives to retain nurses in regional and remote areas of Australia.

I understand that the closure will occur over a three to four-month period and a specialised transition management consultant will work with each individual to determine the best possible outcome for their circumstances.

If any residents of Tarcoola have any concerns that the Transition Consultant is not supporting them sufficiently and providing options we encourage them to make contact with the WDRC in the first instance, and if they feel they would like to discuss further they are welcome to contact me through my offices for assistance.

It is important that all constituents are heard no matter where they live. I strongly encourage the Western Downs Regional Council to be more transparent with the Tara community on how decisions are made within Council, particularly when they affect a community’s most vulnerable.