Urgent Meeting Regarding Murchison Crisis Tonight

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Murchison Community Action group are holding an urgent meeting at 7pm tonight (Monday, October 28) in the Murchison Community Centre to explain the reasons for this action & discuss the community's response. 

What: Murchison Crisis
When: 7pm Monday 28 October
Where: Murchison Community Centre
Who: Murchison Community Action Group, Warwick Gregory, Chair Rachel Smith, Secretary, Marg McMaster, Treasurer, Sue Brown, Brian Burke, Marg Clarke, Royden James, Robert Brown, Bruce Giovanetti


The following is a media release on Murchison Crisis:

What has happened in Murchison is ground zero for what threatens life throughout many country towns all over Australia: drought, a decimated dairy industry, water prices and funding programs impacting aged care and health care. Rural communities in crisis. When you hear this story – you will surely recognize it as your own if you live or know someone living in a country town in Australia.

Situated along the Goulburn River less than 2 hours from Melbourne and 30 minutes from Shepparton sits the town of Murchison, population 952. It is like many other country towns with a post office, a primary school and small businesses including a bakery, a pub, a flower farm and shops. One of the things that makes Murchison special is the community investment in the health and well-being of the town. And successful it has been – for a town with less than 1000 you might be surprised to learn we had a:
• a 40 bed nursing home with dedicated staff and volunteers providing the best of care
• a thriving pharmacy
• a premiere teaching medical clinic with pathology, podiatry and telehealth services, attracting patients from the entire Goulburn Valley
• a Neighbourhood House with a men’s shed, maternal & child health service, immunisations, a regional preschool association, community meals, a registered volunteer program for Centrelink recipients to meet their requirements, St. Vinnie’s donation site, an Op Shop, a community internet café and a community bus with weekly transportation into Shepparton

But that is all about to change because the Federal Government is not prepared to help.

A non-profit organization called Murchison Community Care (MCC) owns the 40 bed DP Jones Nursing Home along with the Neighbourhood House, Medical Centre and Pharmacy. When the MCC board recently learned that their deficit wasn’t thousands of dollars, but approximately $4.7M it had to take decisive action and appointed a Voluntary Administrator. After only a couple weeks in the job, the Administrator announced on Tuesday this week that no one had come forward to purchase and operate the DP Jones Nursing Home and that a plan is in place to close the doors within 4-6 weeks. That very afternoon residents and employees were seeing presentations from 9 other facilities to make a life changing decision. The decision to close DP Jones Nursing Home also poses a serious threat to the future of the Medical Centre and the Neighbourhood House.

Closing a non-profit regional nursing homes is a sad story – especially for the elderly residents, their families and the nearly 70 employees who will need to find new jobs. But the travesty here is that it’s actually much bigger. The domino effect of this one action will decimate our town, and leave those who are most vulnerable without care, support or a home. And what is confronting Murchison could well be the scenario for hundreds of non-profit nursing homes throughout regional Australia. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

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28 October 2019

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