Mutual Succeeds in NSW Home Care Bid
1 September 2015 at 12:06 pm
The NSW Government has sold its Home Care Service to mutual provider, Australian Unity, in a move that is said to be the first of the new wave of public service mutual propositions.
The NSW Government said the sale would see a reinvestment of $100 million of proceeds into the National Disability Insurance Scheme and related services.
Australian Unity has signed an agreement with the NSW Government to accept the transfer of the Home Care Service of NSW in a $114 million deal due to be finalised by early 2016.
Under the agreement, staff and clients will transfer to Australian Unity and Australian Unity will continue to provide all services.
The Home Care Service of NSW is one of Australia’s largest home care providers with a 70 per cent market share in NSW for domestic assistance and personal care.
The 70-year-old Home Care Service had revenues of $234 million last financial year, and its 4,000 employees provided services to over 51,800 clients.
The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) has welcomed news of the sale.
“The sale of the NSW Government’s Home Care service to Australian Unity, a BCCM member, highlights the Government’s trust in mutuals to provide health and social care services for the elderly and disabled citizens of Australia,” Chief Executive of the BCCM, Melina Morrison said.
“Australian Unity is a trusted national brand, a 175 year old institution which has remained true to its mutual origins as a consumer focused, member based business. The sheer size of Home Care service with its 70 per cent market share and 50,000 clients indicates the NSW Government believes the transfer of services to the capable hands of a mutual provider is in the best interests of NSW and service users.
“It is also very important that Australian Unity has stated it will retain the unique identity of the Aboriginal Home Care unit which provides services within the broader home care umbrella, recognising the importance of community connectedness, high quality and consistent service provision to all users.”
Morrison said Public Service Mutuals are designed and run for the public benefit not private profit while designed by consumers and structured around their needs.
The BCCM White Paper on Public Service Mutuals (PSMs) released in 2014 highlighted the need for a third way to deliver public services which provide accountability and transparency together with the economic efficiencies to meet the demands of an ageing population.
“This sale sees Government deliver on a key recommendation in the White Paper that existing mutuals can provide a great service model,” Morrison said.
“The McClure Report on the welfare system and the Harper Review into competition policy supported the recommendations of the BCCM White Paper that mutuals should play a greater role in the delivery of public services.”
The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) is the national peak body representing the co-operative and mutual models of enterprise in Australia. Formed in 2013, the BCCM is led by the Chief Executives of Australia’s leading co-operative and mutual businesses.