11 August 2021

CRV walks away from reopening Harden aged care facility

| Edwina Mason
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Aged care facility

It’s back to the drawing board for the Harden community as they seek a solution for their aged care facility which was closed by Southern Cross Care earlier this year. Photo: Supplied.

Cowra Retirement Village (CRV) has been unable to secure federal government funding to assist in its purchase of the St Lawrence Aged Care facility in Harden.

Approval of their application for an undisclosed sum of money under the Federal Government’s Aged Care Approval Round (ACAR) grant would have ensured the 45-bed facility could have reopened.

But CRV says they have no option but to rescind their contract to purchase the facility from former operators Southern Cross Care NSW & ACT (SCC).

SCC announced the closure of St Lawrence in February this year – blaming staff shortages and a lack of community interest – rendering its 35 residents homeless.

READ ALSO Harden residents furious over closure of retirement village built by the community

In making the announcement today, CRV chairman Ian Donges said he was grateful to the Harden community for their support of their bid, but without the Aged Care Approvals grant, the financial risk to CRV was too great.

He also said he regretted the decision taken by the retirement village board to not proceed with the purchase.

CRV CEO Scott Kable said he too was disappointed with the outcome and wished the community well in recommissioning the facility in the future.

SCC chief executive Helen Emerson said the decision was regrettable and highlighted the challenging environment in which regional aged care providers operate.

“As a not-for-profit aged care provider, Southern Cross Care’s mission is delivering the best possible care for our residents,” she said.

She said SCC wanted to see the St Lawrence facility transferred to an organisation that could operate it safely and sustainably.

READ ALSO Cowra group comes to the rescue of Harden-Murrumburrah’s aged

Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said he shared the community’s disappointment in CRV’s decision to withdraw its bid.

“I have been fighting to save this vital service, and 45 aged care beds were reinstated through the latest Aged Care Approval Round to the CRV which were intended for the St Lawrence facility in Harden-Murrumburrah,” he said.

He added that funding through ACAR could only be allocated for capital works and fit-out purposes.

“Regrettably, CRV required funding for the purchase of the facility from Southern Cross Care,” he said.

Mr McCormack said the federal Department of Health recently offered CRV a $615,000 Business Improvement Fund grant to support it in its bid to take over the service in Harden-Murrumburrah.

“My office was advised the following from the CRV Board: ‘Our board has deemed the current business risks are too great even if we were to receive $4 million’”, he said.

Mr McCormack said he was aware of another local offer to purchase the St Lawrence facility.

“I will continue to work with stakeholders to pursue other avenues to save this vital service for the passionate people of the Harden-Murrumburrah community,” he said

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