Home > FCATA Blog Page, Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Association > Update from Meeting with Council 21st Feb 2011 ……

Update from Meeting with Council 21st Feb 2011 ……

Update from Meeting with Council 21st Feb 2011 …

The main topic discussed at the meeting was ‘pool access’ – Council acknowledges the merits of the program – but in its current structure – it cannot do anything other than give undertakings to address the logistical requirements the program ‘may’ require if it can find the funding to start the program.

Awareness and real commitment are two entirely different things – for the two odd years spent trying to overcome the ‘ignorance’ this Council has in its policy toward the ‘admissions prices’ for the ‘concession card’ demographics in this region – you would think that they would have learned something.

Council wanted absolutes and factual data and none was available – their openness about their interest in the program was there and genuine – but any reasons why they had not come up with the previous recognition for the need of a program like this was not – I wanted a longer meeting – their schedule was for 30 minutes – two Councillors and a Council staff stayed for an hour – the Acting CEO left early for another meeting as did another Councillor – I did not think it rude – just that the meeting is not a high priority for the Council at this point in time.

I can accept that the Acting CEO’s time is valuable – she did not want to know of any past history – she did not have any real independent knowledge of the correspondence that had preceded this meeting – I may have erred in this area in not copying (CC) all the correspondence to the CEO that was sent to the Councillors over the last six months – she had obviously been briefed by Council staff who were aware of the previous history – that gave her a very biased perspective.

The Mayor was no where near this meeting given his ‘limp’ and disrespectful attempts to resolve the matter in the past.

The Acting CEO appears capable and had a genuine interest in wanting to talk about the aqua-therapy program.  When presenting the needs for pool access and giving her what the program would like and needed to have to go forward – i.e. some type of forward commitment from Council for the program to have guaranteed access to the pool, the following points were put forward –

  • to allow free access between 8-9 am Mon- Fri for all pensioner/disability card holders for Association Tier 2 and Tier 3 members/participants via a membership with the proposed program  – did score points as did similar access requests for the Tier 1 participants – for both Hervey Bay and Maryborough pools – Tier 4 for children was raised briefly and this was explained as being dependent on a number of other factors including, acquiring specific funding that can be expended on aqua-therapy for children as opposed to the Tier 1,2 & 3 groups.  Other points raised were:-
  • sun covers over the heated pools to allow Tier 1 access between 9-12 pm  –
  • the impending closure of the Maryborough Pool for refurbishment – and the prospect of applying for access to the Maryborough Base Hospital hydrotherapy pool to cater for the Tier 1 Maryborough group – [this is currently being investigated via the custodians of the Base Hospital pool] –
  • the staffing of the program – specifically for the Tier 1 group from a ‘workplace health and safety’ perspective –
  • levels of interest and limitations on the proposed growth of the program given the public’s entitlements and commitments to use the pools – mainly all negated because the  Tier 1 program will be using the heated pools – and the Tier 2 & 3 will be finished by the 9.00am time frame when schools and the like want access to the pools – the Respite Care participants for Tier 1-3 are a different matter and this access is still in the process of being assessed from the program’s perspective – i.e. there now appears to be two different groups developing – those who are independent and want to become members, and a second group who are under respite care management and want to be a part of the program as a respite type activity – each of these two groups have their own Tier 1-3 participants and each group will have and want different time access to the pool –
  • Council want to know what the expected and proposed growth for the program is forecast to be – it was explained that at this point this is very hard to qualify – given the formal responses to date – over 70 – over 50 from Respite groups – and with well over another 40 odd Carer Groups yet to give their formal estimates by the end of March deadline for Interest Notifications – any estimates could be so far off – given the more than 5500 disability pensioners in the region – and the 1400 odd receiving carer assistance – and the 30,000 odd people 55 and over all living in the Fraser Coast region – the number could be anything at this stage  – more information on this point will be available when the March deadline comes.
  • there was limited discussion on funding requirements – other than it would have to come from outside sources – [this is in hand in the form of current submissions to both Federal and State Ministers for disability services and funding for the proposed program being prepared – additional applications are also in the process of being formulated to Carer Groups who have indicated an interest in the program] – any funding availability will depend on the interest notification levels, the Associations formation, and the Management Committee’s ability to formulate specific actions plans for all Tier level groups.  This is a monster of a task and as repeated previously – help is needed.

Summation:

My take on the meeting is that Council are now very much aware that they have to act in some way to deal with where this proposed program is coming from and at them.  The Acting CEO spoke positively about Councils awareness and intent – when she become aware of what has transpired before her time – that will be a time where her ability to lead and make decisions will be challenged – she will have to shift the Mayors position on this matter and I dare say a number of other Councillors as well.

If the political take on this issue was put aside – nobody would argue there is not a need to have this program established – it serves the community in so many ways – the aging population in this area is fast exhausting the medical resources of the region – inducing and encouraging the targeted demographics of this program will only assist in keeping independent livers living longer in their own homes and lessen the pressure on the health resources of the community.

Council just have to find a way to make it happen – in my opinion they should have been in front of this issue from the get-go – having to now drag them kicking and resisting all the while has shown a completed lack of respect for the true needs for this very large grouped demographic – an example of the Council’s ignorance to the truth in the numbers was when Council used the number of pensioner ratepayers as the statistic for the pensioner group in the region – their number was 9000+ –

The real number from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) had the number of aged pensioners living in the Fraser Coast region at well over 13,000 in 2009 – that is a almost a 50% under estimate of the potential target numbers for Tier 2 and Tier 3 participants of this program.  If current 2011 numbers were known – I dare say it would be a much larger under estimation.   The stats used for this example appear below – [these numbers have previously been  sent to Council and Councillors and it would appear they have  educated nobody].

Data Information: Fraser Coast Region Gladstone Region
Regional Area Population: 99,514 (2009) 59,644 (2009)
Persons 55+ living in area: 28,021 (2010) (28.16%) 9,226 (2010) (15.47%)
Disability Pensioners living in area: 5,388 (2009) (  5.41%) 1,121 (2009) (  1.81%)
Aged Pensioners receiving pension: 13,148 (2009) (13.21%) 2,907 (2009) (  4.87%)
People receiving ‘CARER’ assist: 1,327 (2009) ( 1.33%) 201 (2009) (  0.34%)

Source Links for data in above table appear below:

There is still much to be done before this program can be called a ‘likely to happen’ event.  At this point – it has been established that the need is there – to get to the next round of talks and discussions – creditability needs to be obtained and that has to be about forming a Committee and becoming a registered Association –

Plans for this are being discussed at the moment – it is hoped that members of the Gladstone Aquatic Therapy Association will travel to Hervey Bay in late March to give a presentation about their program and answer any questions put to them.  This meeting will be open to the public and any Carer Group and any person who has registered their interest in the program to date – it is intended to make this meeting the first General Meeting of FCATA at which the Management Committee will be elected.

If you know you can help with this program in a Management way – please attend and be prepared to offer your services.  If you want any more information about the program and its intentions as seen through my eyes – please feel free to contact be and ask as many questions as you like. My name is Ian – my phone number is : 0741 941 081.

My concept of this program is not the final say on any matter that the Association will become or be involved with – I am a disability pensioner and I would categorise myself as a Tier 2 participant – I know first hand the success of aqua-therapy and how it can improve outlook and the want to become more mobile and enjoy a better quality of life – I have seen it happen and I want to see it happen across our Nation – and in particular this region where I have decided to live.  This program can only improve your mobility and want for a better quality of life – please give it your support.

Also – can I ask you to submit your interest notification if you have not already done so.  You can complete to on-line form below, or download a Word file linked here and submit your notification by mail.

Download Word File Interest Notification form:

Click here: FCATA Interest Notification Form
————— FCATA Interest Notification Form ——————–













Where:

  • TIER 1 = This grouping is represented by persons with severe disabilities who require full/part time carers.
  • TIER 2 = This group is represented by self help disability pensioners, and other pensioners with mobility issues and wish to become involved in a healthier aqua therapy/exercise program on a regular basis.
  • TIER 3 = This group is represented by all the other ‘pensioner’ groups, including self funded retirees, and people living independently who want to be part of a healthier exercise program to maintain their independent lifestyles.

Please note: Volunteering is optional in any capacity – participants in Tier 2 and Tier 3 – it is not a condition of membership of the program that participants are required to volunteer – if they wish to help the program in ways where their skill sets can be used – any assistance will be appreciated – please see the Volunteer Interest Level below to address this question. [Sorry for any confusion on this matter].





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