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To look after those who could not look after themselves A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc. (MACS) 1994 - 2014

JORDAN MAVROS, OAM


To look after those who could not look after themselves A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc. (MACS) 1994 - 2014

JORDAN MAVROS, OAM


This book is dedicated, respectfully and reverently, to irst generation Post-War II migrants, whose settlement in Geelong has been a vindication of human resilience, strength and endeavour. Pioneers at the time, their toils and hard work shaped and enriched life in the entire region.


Contents Acknowledgements

7

Introduction

8

PART ONE

11

Barwon Region, Aged Care needs and services for migrants; what and where to?

35

PART TWO Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc. (GMH): The Formative Years

49

PART THREE From GMH to MACS: Consolidation, expansion and full integration of multicultural aged care services

PART FOUR

79

The Culture of MACS

PART FIVE

95

Documents

PART SIX

111

Full listing of Board and Committee memberships

Postscript

115

Appendices

117

References

127

Glossary of key concepts and acronyms

128

Bibliography

130

5 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


Acknowledgements Writing the history of MACS has been a joyful, as much as an interesting, and at times sobering, experience. I have been associated with MACS from the very early days and the personal, subjective perspective is unavoidable. The temptation to idealize events in which one has had a personal involvement is only human. At the same time, personal and direct experience can often render accurately and most vividly the all-important historical space, especially the depth and intensity of the socio-emotional, mental and spiritual ambience within which events occur. The spirit and manner, engaged in the narration of MACS’ pre-establishment years to the successful operation throughout its existence, have been guided strictly by the dictum of history to serve the truth. Firstly, I want to thank all my fellow Board Directors of MACS - Bob, Gerald, Gael, John, Michael and Spiro. I am humbled by the faith they showed in me, and the belief, that I could do justice to this wonderful organisation in documenting its past twenty years. I wish to acknowledge the support offered to me by Joy Leggo and her Administration team at MACS. All records and documents were at my disposal and graciously made available for my perusal, as I requested. I thank Toni Spanic, a friend and past colleague, for providing me with a full set of the Geelong Ethnic Communities Council’s (GECC) Annual Reports from 1980 to 2005. Our kitchen table at home had been turned into a constantly messy ofice, with documents all over the place, during the last eleven months; the time I was working on the MACS project. I appreciate the patience, understanding and discretion my wife Lina has exercised and the support she has given me. More so, I thank her for putting up with the Pontian and Cretan background music I always had on during this time. To Coral Turner and Helen Mavros, I express my profound gratitude for so generously and magnanimously offering to do the proof-reading of the manuscript. Along with the region’s migrants, as well as the respective community groups, I thank the core group of individuals, the GECC’s Executive Committee, who had the vision and commitment in the late 1980s to undertake the MACS project. Above all, I thank the people of MACS, residents of its facilities and individuals provided with services in the community, together with their families and friends. They are the very reason MACS and its greater family exist today, and shall continue to do so in the years to come.

7 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


Introduction In the mid-1980s, following the European mass migration of the late 1940s to early 1960s to Australia, Geelong’s ethnic communities - individually and collectively - were faced with a stark, critical and culturally complex challenge: the aged care needs of their elderly. From a total population of 183,403 residents in the Geelong area (Bannockburn, Barrabool, Bellarine, Corio, Geelong, Geelong West, Leigh, Newtown, Queenscliff, South Barwon and Winchelsea), the migrant presence made up a substantial part of the general community in Geelong. 18,645 were born in a non-English Speaking Background (NESB) country: at a most conservative level, allowing for just one issue to these individuals, then residents of irst, second and third generation migrant background would number in the vicinity of 37,000, most accurately though around 55,000. One in three to four residents in the Geelong region thus would have, at least from one parental line, a migrant background (see Appendix One, Census statistics). With a strong manufacturing base, including the Ford motor Company, International Harvester, Alcoa, Shell, wool processing, glass and cement factories, Geelong was a prime destination for migrants who were looking for work. At the end of WW II, having left their countries of origin due to six years of war devastation, Australia was offering them a chance at peace, work and prosperity for themselves, and most importantly, for their families and children. At the same time, Australia had a massive need for working hands. It needed a strong labour force to set up the necessary infrastructure and develop its industry. As a major regional centre, Geelong’s it for that mutual need was perfect. For more than forty years, the migrants who settled in Geelong, worked hard and established themselves inancially. They also set up religious, cultural and community facilities, along with educational, language services to cater to their speciic needs. Somehow, they managed to deal with and overcome the dificulties of the initial culture shock, lack of support structures and networks, language-communication problems, and certainly different - and at times conlictive - societal, community values, expectations and modes of behaviour. They survived all that, they prospered - and having substantively contributed to the general community’s economic, socio-cultural and artistic growth and overall quality of life - all of a sudden they were now old. The critical factor here was that, having migrated en massé as mature adults some four decades ago, their rate of ageing now was exponentially accelerating in comparison to that of their counterparts in the general community. At the time, the general community’s assumption was that migrants were known for the strong extended family bonds and networks, and the care they took of the elderly within their own families. Surely, the families would look after the elderly, wouldn’t they? And in any case, were that not to be the situation, there existed aged care services and facilities in the general community for everyone. After all, following the dismantling of the policy of assimilation at a national level in the early 1970s and the adoption then of multiculturalism, the practice and prevailing ethos of the governmental - public service policy that ensued for a while was the policy of “mainstreaming”: a plank, one generalist service response it to cover everything. As the immediate needs of migrants for work, food and roof were addressed, they slowly and constantly came to realize that new, and just as important, needs were emerging: needs of cultural, language and values-based nature, and of profound attitudinal impact and signiicance. Weak, powerless and totally ignored individually, the migrant communities in Geelong started to agitate and ask questions. Eventually they were formally organised in 1976 in an entity that came to be known as the Geelong Ethnic Communities Council (GECC). They now had unity of purpose, a united front, and collectively, they had a distinct, strong voice. Following extensive consultations within the region’s migrant communities in 1985-88, residential aged care was identiied as the highest ranked need in their midst. The GECC’s Executive Committee, under the steadfast, resolute leadership of its President at the time, Frank De Stefano, took the seminal decision to undertake the necessary work and formally apply for the establishment of residential aged care services for the region’s migrant elderly. Amidst a plethora of challenges, opposition and negative reaction - why set up a separate service, a divisive precedent, why 8 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


treat migrants differently - the Executive remained calm, focused and committed to its decision. That decision led to obtaining an approval-in-principle from the Federal Government in 1989 for the establishment of a 40 bed multicultural hostel. Following the completion of its construction and the admission of the irst residents in May 11, 1994, twenty years on and MACS has seen an unprecedented evolution, growth and development. It justiiably has full conidence in the quality of care and the range of integrated services it provides to the elderly of diverse language and cultural backgrounds in Geelong. Indeed, MACS today constitutes an integral, proud part of the services and resources set-up within the region’s aged care sector. Every effort has been made to provide an accurate, factually based account of events surrounding the history of MACS for its irst twenty years of existence. The historical narrative and the unfolding chronological events are signiicant, of course, in their own merit. However, the value and importance of the human side is just as equally and thoroughly considered and respectfully treated: the key individuals; their personalities; the interplay of allegiancesrelationships, and the overarching socio-cultural and political ambience, inclusive of the formal government policies and societal attitudes on migrant and multicultural issues for the timeframe dealt with in this book. The history of MACS is recorded and told here with passion, a migrant-focused lens and personalised perspective. Any omissions, inaccuracies or shortcomings are unintended, and the total responsibility of the writer. April, 2014

9 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


PART ONE

Barwon Region, Aged Care needs and services for migrants; what and where to?


CHAPTER ONE

Greater Geelong - Migrants and the Aged Care landscape in the 1980s 1. Migrant presence in the region; demographics and cultural factors

in Norlane, at a stone’s throw from the Ford Motor Company plant.

No sooner had World War II come to an end in August 1945, and Europe was preparing for the mass migration movements of its population: six years of violation of national borders; constant loss of human life at the battle ields and in concentration camps; utter breakdown of civic, commercial and orderly life. This, coupled with the destruction of the natural and built environments, wrought untold, unprecedented devastation upon the continent’s social, cultural and physical capital.

During the mass migration period of the late 1940s to early 1960s, a number of migrants came to Geelong directly from their respective countries of origin. Others passed through the Bonegilla Centre, and quite a few of them came from inter and intra-state, including those who came under the Assisted Passage Scheme. Having settled in, migrants then started sponsoring family, relatives and friends from their respective countries of origin. By mid-1960s, Geelong became a diverse, truly multicultural city, almost exclusively of European, white peoples. In the early 1970s, following the Vietnam War, as part of the refugee intake, the South East Asian presence became quite visible in Geelong with the settlement of Vietnamese, Lao, Thai and Cambodian arrivals. This was in addition to an existing small Malaysian, Chinese and Philippino presence*.

The mass migration having begun, the Americas, Canada and Australia were the main countries of destination. Australia itself, counting the cost of its own involvement in the war, was now in need of an expanded, increased workforce to develop its heavy industry and a badly lacking national infrastructure. The exodus from Europe presented an ideal opportunity and thus started the huge intake of migrants who settled in the major capital cities and regional industrial centres. Geelong, with the Ford Motor Company, Alcoa, Shell, International Harvester and the cement, textile mills and carpet factories, amongst others, was a prime destination for migrants to come to ind work and settle in the local community. In addition to those arriving from the United Kingdom and Ireland, before long, sizeable groups of speciic nationalities from Northern, Eastern and Southern Europe were being formed. The Dutch, German, Polish, Croatian, Italian, Austrian, Greek, Russian, Hungarian, Serbian, Spanish, Slovenian, Ukrainian, Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian and Macedonian communities were easily identiiable, setting up their socio-cultural and religious structures in the mid - late 1950s. The northern suburbs of Geelong, offering cheap accommodation, as well as their immediacy and easy access to work - factory locations, soon started attracting the newly arrived migrants. Bell Park, North Geelong, Norlane and Corio were now suburbs being heavily settled by migrants. Similarly was the case with Geelong West, South Geelong and East Geelong. The Migrant Hostel, subsequently established and run by the Immigration Department until the mid-1970s, was in the very heart of the migrant presence: D.W. Hope Centre 12 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

Work was plentiful, with the commitment and desire to do well burning strongly in the hearts and minds of migrants. There was the immediate culture shock, that is, the inability to speak English and communicate with people outside their own background. There was a new physical and social environment, different climate, no familiar neighbourhoods, no friendships, no existing social networks. The systems of civic structures and services, together with their functioning, were totally unfamiliar to them. There were different community and societal attitudes and values. All that new reality was being brutally, instantaneously enforced upon them and inescapably absorbed in the process of the daily routine of securing one’s roof and food. The reality in the host country now demanded that, to survive and succeed, they had to stop living life as they knew it before their *Post the mid-1980s, there has been a signiicant change to the pattern of migrant and refuge intake-settlement in the Geelong region. In the early 2000s refugee migrants started arriving from the continent of Africa, mainly from South Sudan, then Liberia and Congo. Recently, Geelong has seen the arrival of Afghan, as well as Karen and Kareni refugees from Burma. This settlement pattern relects the geo-political events and conlicts around the world. It is also worth mentioning that, in addition to permanently settled migrants and refugees, Geelong nowadays has a strong presence of international students studying at the local institutions of Deakin University and the Gordon TAFE. Their numbers exceeding 2,000 are mainly from India, China, Malaysia and Pakistan.1


arrival and start re-learning living life anew. Further, the misery and pain of the war and its aftermath, still fresh in their mind, made it possible for migrants to push themselves beyond their endurance limits, usually working two shifts and putting up with the insufferable. For migrants in Geelong, material success was in their reach. However, despite the importance and strong prerequisite of material well-being, it cannot of itself and in itself guarantee successful and meaningful settlement in a new land. As a matter of necessity and sheer survival, migrants felt comfort, re-assurance and conidence in the company of their own, drawing strength to adjust and get on with life within the wider Geelong community. Yet, along the way, cultural, psycho-social and attitudinal factors started to present stark challenges. How does one have a religious marriage, christening or funeral service without clergy of one’s own religion and language? How can recreational, emotional and social needs be met if one cannot dance the dances s/he grew up with? What happens when one cannot communicate in the language of which the sounds, subtle beauty, nuances and twists, were learned from the time of birth, and tradition and heritage with their all-important life sustaining rituals, both lay and spiritual, cannot be partaken with those who share in them? Life, and a fulilling life at that, could not simply be a matter of cognitive rationalisations and mechanistic assimilation processes. The anxiety, disquiet and concern about these matters necessitated the initial, informal gatherings and discussions on cultural and community issues, which soon turned into serious undertakings. By the mid1950s and onwards, formal organizations, community structures and cultural networks were set up by the different migrant groups. The Italian, Croatian, Polish, Lithuanian, German, Serbian, Dutch, Greek and Slovenian communities, just to mention a few, began to establish a range of social, cultural and recreational organizations. A plethora of dance groups, sports clubs and choirs emerged within Geelong’s socio-cultural tapestry. With respect to spiritual, religious matters, the communities embarked upon the process of constructing their own church buildings, certainly the non-Catholic groups, such as the Serbian, Russian, Ukrainian and Greek. Additionally, many groups constructed community halls - usually but not always next to the church - for social gatherings, recreational activities and cultural events, including national day celebrations, religious festivities and private social functions for their members. Language itself took different directions with the migrant groups, depending on factors such as the inancial capability and numerical strength of a community, its level of organization, limitations on suitable and

properly qualiied individuals, and access to appropriate venues. With some communities, language tuition was undertaken by their priests who also provided religious instructions. Others engaged lay, unqualiied individuals who had a varying degree of knowledge and language skills, but were driven by a strong desire to undertake the task. All teaching material/manuals, of course, were from the respective countries of origin. It was not until the mid-1970s that community language classes and schools began to operate in a more organised and professional manner. Now there was government funding available which many communities could access, if they wanted to, in order to utilize it and improve the standard of their community school. At the same time, they started to develop their own resources at a systematic, professional level. Local, second generation qualiied teachers were coming up through the education system. They now had the cultural understanding, empathy for and appreciation of the richness and importance of one’s heritage, together with the professional training. If there was no one locally available, then such could be sourced and engaged from Melbourne. Also, manuals and teaching materials produced in Australia, with a local contextual understanding, were introduced into the community language schools, thus making a substantial contribution to the learning and continuation of community languages. By the mid-1970s, the migrant communities in Geelong were reasonably well set up, conducting their own socio-cultural activities in isolation from each other and operating within the overall government policy and general community expectation of assimilation. Individually, even the biggest ones, such as the Italian, Dutch, Croatian, Polish and German communities, had no voice, no weight, and no inluence in the civic and cultural spheres. Unity, social and political clout and inluence eventuated with the emergence in 1976 of what became a dynamic, vibrant, non-proit community organization, the Geelong Ethnic Communities Council (GECC). The GECC set as its immediate and primary goal the general welfare needs of migrants in the greater Geelong region. Its involvement in this area, subsequently, brought to the forefront and ensured the recognition of the substantive economic, social, cultural and artistic contribution migrants made to Geelong. 2. General community Aged Care Services and the plight of migrants Community disconnection and social isolation are two social evils that plague societies all over the world in modern times. Nowhere is this phenomenon more evident and pronounced than with the elderly. When active engagement in the workforce eventually comes 13 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


to an end, it breaks one’s connective chain to the community, the world, and slowly-slowly, to life itself. There is physical frailty and the diminution of cognitive functions, coupled with the natural decrease of the nuclear family – children moving out of the parental home and establishing their own families and independent lives. And then there is the dreadful loss of one’s spouse or partner, bringing about a devastating shock that is seldom overcome. The body does not have the strength and cannot function as it did in the past and getting from one place to another becomes dificult. Driving a car enters a problematic phase, and is only possible for short distances and familiar routes. Further, the will and physical strength to attend recreational and social functions, participating in them and interacting with people, weaken. The State then enters into the fray to attend to and respond to the needs that arise and provide care for the elderly. Unavoidably, though, such responses have to be highly systematised and regulated, and by practical application and necessity, more often than not, they take away the informal, the speciic and the “human” part of the care. Whilst these are huge concerns for the elderly within the general community, for elderly of migrant backgrounds, particularly of the irst generation, the blow is twice as harsh and painful. While socio-culturally things kept changing in their birth place, for them in the host country now, their inability to live through and observe the ongoing changes and evolution of things in the countries of origin, ensures that their cultural point of reference remains static. For them, the cultural clock froze in time in the countries of origin and they cannot experience and observe the normative and attitudinal changes taking place there gradually and continuously. Their views, values and expectations, their daily habits remain, if not exactly the same, certainly heavily inluenced by their lives and irst hand experiences of the past. In the host country, in addition to community disconnection and social isolation, they face cultural dislocation as well, further exacerbated by the language barrier. In the 1970s to mid-1980s aged care services in the Geelong region were provided mainly by four broad entities or aged care sector providers: the local councils through the Senior Citizens Centres and the home care program, including meals-on-wheels (non-residentially based, non- institutional aged care); Grace McKellar Centre, a government funded public entity operating residential services (nursing and hostel services); a number of Church-based and private organisations, also providing residential services, and a plethora of individual, private providers offering supported aged care services (special accommodation places). Senior Citizens Centres were run fairly well with strong attendance and ongoing support from the Councils. 14 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

Additionally, through the meals-on-wheels program, the Councils were providing cooked meals to the elderly at their homes. Most importantly, though, and of equal if not greater value, was the provision of a vital social support - human interaction program through the volunteers. The volunteers, in delivering the meals, were engaged in most cases in the process of establishing regular contact, friendships and ongoing comfort to the elderly. Institutional, residential aged care was becoming gradually a challenge due to increasing demands as the population in the general community was rapidly aging. Both the public and private providers were faced with the pressure of having to provide services to elderly with complex needs of physical frailty and cognitive ailments and dysfunctions. With respect to special accommodation places, one could not tell the head from the tail. Some were of good standard, others in-between, and of course a number of them quite appalling. In the late 1980s they were renamed Supported Residential Services (SRS). No regulations or standards to be adhered to, no formal assessment and approval system for their operation, until the early 1990s. If the number of the elderly in the general community population was now increasing at a concerning rate and level, what was happening with the community’s migrant groups? The cultural divide, strongly underpinned and guided by the attitudinal drive and socialized, inherited tradition, was making its presence felt. First generation migrants, having settled in Geelong during the late 1940s to early 1960s (mass migration to Australia period), with a number of them having sponsored their parents under the family reunion scheme, were now aging at a rate of more than three times higher than that of the general community. Where could, then, one ind the migrant elderly needing social and recreational outlets, or residential, institutional care? Certainly not in the Senior Citizens clubs, as there were language, cultural and social differences and expectations. Some of the ethnic groups, such as the Austrian, Croatian, German, Polish and Spanish, would run elderly clubs/recreational activities in their own community halls. In addition, a number of social support and interaction activities for elderly started being organised by and run at the Geelong Migrant Resource Centre, including the Italian and Greek groups. What about the isolated and disconnected, the frail and unwell needing residential care? Maybe some of them at least could be found in the residential settings? With a telescope on hand and a persistent, arduous effort, one could spot some migrant elderly in a hostel or nursing home. Special accommodation places? Sure


enough, there were quite a few of them in such places and proportionally well-represented amongst the overall number of individuals living there. Obviously, if irst generation migrants had their own strong values, and were respectful of the parental traditions and customs, why raise the question as to what was happening, or should happen, to their elderly? Were not migrants proverbially known for their supportive extended family networks and the practice of looking after, taking care of their own elderly? Or, should one ask the question in the irst place, and for that matter, why not? 3. Migrants in Geelong, the public services-social welfare gap. Emergence of the Geelong Ethnic Communities Council (GECC)** Australia as a nation, together with its White Australia policy, adopted and practised the policy of assimilation. The oficial Australian Government policy and community expectations were clear: migrants were expected to fully assimilate and comply with the social and cultural customs of the general community, virtually negating their previous life experience and patterns of social behaviour. The implication and effect of the policy was that migrants, irrespective of where they came from and what their life experiences had been up to the point of arrival in Australia, were asked to fully accept the mode of public and private conduct and living, and fully comply with the Australian mores. That of course included language, with the proverbial “speak English or go back to where you came from” when migrants would converse in their own language amongst themselves. While mechanistically and at an intellectual level the policy had its own logic, it totally ignored the inescapable and un-alterable reality, that is, people’s emotional make-up and attitudinal orientation to life. In their vast majority, post-World War Two migrants in Geelong, and throughout Australia, had arrived as mature adults and could not simply be changed by social engineering. In its worst aspect, the policy of assimilation inlicted untold suffering, sapping selfconidence, discrimination, oppression, denial of human rights and non-existent or limited access to services and resources. Most importantly, wastage and lack of, if not minimal, utilization of the huge human resources, the community’s greatest social capital. Of course, if nothing else, in the end the sheer weight of the number of migrants ensured that the policy did not succeed. They could not just simply be ‘absorbed’. Through the forced interaction process - at the factory loor, the buses, shopping centres, the neighbourhoods, and obviously the mingling of children in the schoolyards- migrants and members of the general

community slowly-slowly started to discover their common shared humanity. They could not escape each other, they could not wish each other away, they had to live together. The differences now started to allow and make space for acknowledgement, acceptance and respect of the “other”. For the distrust, reservation and exclusion or rejection of the “other” was happening from both sides of the fence, albeit with a signiicant social status and power differential: members of the general community were part of the dominant culture, while migrants were the minority. In the early 1970s eventually the policy of assimilation came to an end, as it was formally abandoned by the Government and replaced by the policy of multiculturalism. With respect to social, community services at the public, government- funded level, migrants found themselves at a huge disadvantage. There existed lack of awareness by migrants of what was out there and ‘how the system works’, together with limited or non-existent English language skills. Insensitivity to the socio-cultural factors by government departments, civic and public authorities, and the absence of a legitimate voice or advocate to take up their cause, resulted in gravely disproportionate, inadequate accessibility to and utilization of such services and resources by migrants. To assume that “after all, migrants having worked hard, they have established themselves and are doing quite well, thank you very much, they don’t need any help or support” would be to hide one’s head in the sand and deny reality. Statistical information and the demographics, when looked at closely began to throw up serious questions as to why this section of society was marginalised and being left out of the human services and social welfare loop. What was then to happen? Migrant groups and ethnic organisations started to agitate, demanding and pushing for change to the mode of serve delivery to residents of migrant backgrounds in the community. The major ethnic groups moved to set up their own cultural, educational and welfare support structures in the capital cities. Thus, Melbourne for example in 1968 and 1972 saw the Italian and Greek communities establish their own welfare organisations, CO.AS.IT and AGWS respectively. The trend continued with other migrant groups of substantial size. Also, state-wide collective organizations known as Ethnic Communities Councils were set up as advocacy, lobby and policy development bodies, with the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria being set up in Melbourne in 1974. ** This section is long-winded and somewhat convoluted. Yet, it was deemed to be warranted as a necessary background understanding to the genesis of the idea of the development of residential services for elderly migrants in Geelong and the eventual establishment of MACS 15 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


Geelong somehow in the mid-1970s found itself in a noman’s land. It was not quite part of Melbourne but was not a little rural place either. Nor did it have anywhere near comparable numbers of migrants of individual groups as those of their counterparts in Melbourne. The strongest groups, the Italian, Croatian, Dutch, Polish and German, each had from 4,500 to 3,500 residents approximately in their individual communities. Yet, collectively with over 37,000 residents of migrant backgrounds, they constituted a substantial part of the general community in the region. What could they do? And as in most cases, despair drove them to ind their own solutions: if no one else cared to, then they would look after their own people. In November, 1975 representatives of the Italian, Polish, Croatian, Greek and Serbian communities met at the Geelong West Town Hall to discuss the matter of social welfare needs of migrants and how to address them. Given that the general community services were not catering to the needs of migrants, this reality led to the formation of the Geelong Migrant Planning Committee in early 1976. The Committee reached the conclusion that co-operation was needed if services for migrants were to be improved. Consequently, the Committee was charged with the task of uniting the total Geelong migrant community to secure better services. The very irst inancial support for enabling the Committee to establish itself and operate, to the amount of a $25,000 grant, came from the federal government under Whitlam’s Australia Assistance Plan. A national scheme, the Australia Assistance Plan was a regionally based program encouraging the establishment of local and regional community development and social engagement support infra-structures. In April 1976, the Committee set up and started operating the Geelong Migrant Advisory and Information Centre in 102 Pakington Street, Geelong West, with the membership now already having increased from ive to eleven communities. The Committee was headed by George Angelovich, electing him as its President in July 1976, a position he held until January, 1978. He was then succeeded by Ivo Loncar. Together with one funded position, the Information Centre was run with the support of a core group of volunteers made up by concerned and committed individuals. Altogether, the Information Centre acted as a basic information hub, making migrants aware of the existence of services and resources and how to access them. Additionally, particular interest was shown for, and support given to, the different ethnic communities with their community schools and language, cultural classes. In December, 1977 the Planning Committee re-organised its structure, was wound up and created its new name and entity as the Geelong Ethnic Communities 16 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

Council (GECC), with Ivo Loncar being the Council’s irst President. Even at this rudimentary stage, inancial resources were needed (rental and associated costs) to ensure the Centre’s operation. Support then came from the Geelong West City Council ($1,000 grant) in early 1978, as well as a further inancial support in the amount of $10,000 in March, 1978 from the Geelong and District Community Chest - United Way Geelong (now known as Give Where You Live), a community chest organization granting raised funds to health and welfare organisations in the Geelong region. That inancial support was critical in enabling the Geelong Migrant Planning Committee/ GECC to address all associated challenges and problems of newly established organisations, eventually allowing it to survive its initial years of operation. Meanwhile, during this time of the late 1970s, major policy changes were taking place in relation to residents of migrant backgrounds in Australia. Following on from the abolition of the policy of assimilation, The Fraser government appointed a Committee in 1977 to undertake a review of services provided to migrants. The Committee, having completed its task, presented its ‘Report of the Review of Post- Arrival Programs and Services to Migrants’, through its Chairman, Frank Galbally, to the Parliament in April, 1978. The Report, known as ‘The Galbally Report’, recommended fundamental policy changes and program proposals for the delivery of services to migrants, including the establishment of Migrant Resource Centres and greater involvement of community based migrant organisations in the development and delivery of services to migrants (see Appendix Two, Galbally Report extracts, p.p. 4, 64, 101,). In relation to the elderly, in addition to other recommendations, it made the following observation: “In areas where there are signiicant numbers of aged in the ethnic communities, greater consideration should be given to funding the establishment of accommodation and services for speciic ethnic groups”.2 Within this framework, the GECC applied for and obtained funding from the Federal Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs in July 1979 for the establishment of the Geelong Migrant Resource Centre at 151a Pakington Street, Geelong West, which opened its doors and started to operate on 13th October, 1979. It must be mentioned here that instrumental to the success of the GECC’s formative years was the input and support, eventually evolving into a long lasting friendship and mutual respect, provided by Bruna Pasqua and Nick Neary, two public servants with the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. Well experienced in all departmental policies and implementation matters, and deeply committed to community causes, they assisted the GECC with its MRC and Grant-in Aid proposals. At the same time they imparted invaluable knowledge and guidance, together


with invaluable experience to the GECC’s leadership in navigating the public service, government departments and instrumentalities. At the helm of the GECC, President Loncar encouraged, called for and obtained unity of purpose and a united front from the GECC’s afiliated community groups. Altogether, he set and reinforced the tone of success and mode of action, consistently and unfailingly in all policy and operational matters of the GECC, in the ensuing years. From the very beginning, he made it clear to the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs that, while its advice and guidance would be welcomed, he would not tolerate any interference in management affairs of the GECC and the administration of the GMRC program: GECC was to be run by its member constituents and its destiny could only be in their hands. Individually voiceless, now Geelong’s ethnic groups had a distinct presence and voice. Ivo Loncar had to move to Melbourne due to family reasons, and as a result, GECC’s presidency was taken up by Frank De Stefano in May, 1980. During Frank De Stefano’s presidency (1980-1990), the GECC then saw its strong consolidation and development. By 1983, GECC’s membership grew to 17 individual afiliated migrant groups, comprising the Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Philippino, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Turkish and Ukrainian communities. Three years later in 1986, ive more groups, the Austrian, Chinese, German, Scottish and Vietnamese communities were also afiliates of the GECC, bringing the total number of afiliates to 23 communities. 4. GECC’s intent to establish residential services for elderly migrants By mid-1980s, the Geelong Migrant Resource Centre (GMRC) was well established and run by the GECC, while further bolstered by additional funding under the Federal Government’s Grant-in-Aid scheme. Next, the GECC began to expand its scope of operation and involvement from information dissemination and casework service provision to other areas, including community development, advocacy, surveys, research and service development. By 1983 the irst Pako Festa was organised. The idea initially came from Damian Coleman, a social worker at the GMRC, who made a suggestion to the Executive Committee along the lines of a festival, similar to Melbourne’s Lygon Street Festival, being organised and run by the GECC in Geelong. The Executive Committee took up the idea and ran with it. A subcommittee comprising representation from the GECC/ MRC, Geelong West City Council and the Geelong West

Traders Association was then set up to organise and implement it. Sophia Saba, the then Co-ordinator of the GMRC, and Toni Siketa, the Centre’s welfare worker, were the two critical staff members whose work with Geelong’s migrant groups over the ensuing years resulted in the Pako Festa becoming arguably the nation’s greatest multicultural community festival. Run along Pakingon Street, Geelong West, and attended by a moderate number of some 8,000 people, the event for the irst time now took the migrant presence out there to the public face of the general community. As for the day to day work at the GMRC - in addition to immigration (sponsorships, citizenships, visas), income support/ social security related matters, health, housing, education and legal issues - the needs of migrant elderly started to become a prominent issue. A distinct, alarming concern was the condition of lonely migrant elderly and their living arrangements. The welfare team at the Centre (GMRC) would come across such individuals, mainly male, in most necessitous circumstances. They were usually staying in special accommodation places, with minimal inances, cut off from their respective cultural groups as well as the general community, and altogether leading extremely isolated, painfully alienated un-inspiring lives. Visiting them at their special accommodation places, members of the welfare team comprising Grazia Shrimpton, Anne Ekkel, Toni Siketa and Jordan Mavros, would invariably come across and see irst- hand their dreadful, substandard living conditions. Quite a few of those places were not ideal at all: they had no adequate natural light and were damp, unkempt and squalid. Parallel to this situation, a number of studies, surveys and consultations, which were conducted locally between 1979 to 1985, re-enforced the need for aged care services for elderly migrants to be seriously considered. Almost prophetically, in the 1983 Annual Welfare Report, Ms Yasmin Perera, the then social worker of the Centre, stated the following on the needs of ethnic aged: “A need that is being clearly established through our casework is the need for appropriate accommodation for the ethnic aged. As the ethnic population becomes older, this need is going to be more acute, hence it is necessary to look at developing such services now. Where they cannot live with their families, many ethnic aged prefer to live among, and be cared for, by others who at least speak their language. A range of accommodation services are needed: 1. Ethnic speciic village or block type independent living situations where ethnic elderly can live independently in close proximity to others of the same ethnic group 2. Special accommodation homes and nursing homes that employ ethnic staff, provide cuisine the ethnic aged have been 17 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


accustomed to throughout their life etc. General services would be very alienating for many of the ethnic aged and inadequate to provide the psychological beneits so essential for such services”.4 The catalyst came in the form of a survey conducted by the GMRC in 1986. Having established the fact that the number of migrant elderly in the region’s hostels and nursing homes was disproportionally minimal and alarmingly concerning, Jordan Mavros, in charge of the Centre’s Welfare Services at the time, recommended to the GECC’s Executive the undertaking of all necessary steps and processes for the establishment of residential services for the region’s migrant elderly. The Executive carefully assessed and accepted the recommendation. Next with its strong support, it presented it to the GECC’s full membership. The Council then formally adopted the recommendation as its plan of action, assigning it top priority. The Council established an Aged sub-Committee and its President, Frank De Stefano, took the issue to the public arena by announcing the decision to undertake the establishment of a 30 bed hostel: ‘An issue of major concern that has on numerous occasions attracted our attention has been the issue of residential care needs of elderly migrants. Following the government’s decision to assist disadvantaged groups in the community by establishing residential care facilities, our Council has decided to undertake the establishment of a 30 bed hostel that will cater for the various Ethnic groups in the Geelong region’.5 At this stage, Corio Shire, the local Council with the highest concentration of NESB residents in the region, showed keen interest and support for such a project. With the above announcement, the GECC now oficially signalled its intent to establish a multicultural hostel facility. The die being cast, the ascent, the struggle for its eventual implementation had just begun.

18 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


CHAPTER TWO

Aged care needs of migrants 1. Researching the aged care needs of migrants: surveys; community consultations; HACC demonstration project, outcomes and recommendations The irst attempt to properly look at the aged care needs of migrants in Geelong was undertaken as a GECC project in 1979 by the GECC’s Croatian Welfare sub-Committee. The sub-Committee engaged Frank Campbell from Deakin University to undertake the study. This study resulted in the production of substantive work presented to the sub-Committee titled “Survey of needs of Croatian Elderly, 1979-80”. The study, of course, only covered in its scope and considerations, the Croatian community. Yet, at the same time, the key emerging issues were found to be applicable to, and have common threads throughout all the ethnic groups from similar surveys and consultations that followed from 1985 to 1988. The GMRC undertook another short scale survey for the Dutch community, one of GECC’s afiliated ethnic groups in 1985. The survey was conducted as part of a CEP project (Commonwealth Employment Program) which resulted in the “Dutch Elderly Accommodation Needs Survey, 1985” report. Again, the issue of cultural relevance, ability to speak the language and a shared life experience were the key themes constantly recurring. Meanwhile, the ongoing aged care needs presented to the welfare team at the GMRC; the consultation in April 1986 at the Centre with the Commonwealth Government’s Ethnic Aged Working Party to consider the development and options for services to ethic aged (Strategies for Change); together with the visits to special accommodation places by the Centre’s welfare team, as previously outlined, reinforced the determination to make aged care a high priority. In mid-1986 a social work student from the University of Melbourne was placed with the Centre (GMRC) to undertake his inal ieldwork placement. Jordan Mavros, in his capacity as supervisor and professional support, assigned to the student, Jim McIntyre, an aged care related survey- research project6. The project focused on and looked at the entire residential aged care landscape of the Geelong region. Following a thorough, full review of relevant departmental data, as well as visits and ongoing communication with the aged care facilities, the survey revealed some startling results:

from 1,405 residents placed in the region’s hostel and nursing home facilities, only 60 of them were of migrant background. The results of this extensive survey, once again, reafirmed the fact that the residential aged care needs of migrants were not met. Just simply and plainly - and if at all – those needs were inadequately and miserably addressed. No matter how looked at and assessed, 60 out of 1,405, a ratio of well below that of 5% (4.3%) could not be explained away or rationalised. With a ratio of NESB residents over 10.2% out of the region’s total population, and the 60 plus age group of NESB residents reaching the level of 24.2% within the total NESB cohort, (see Appendix One, Statistics) the situation cried out for immediate action. Jordan Mavros’ recommendation that all necessary steps and processes be undertaken for the establishment of residential aged care services for migrants in the region was taken up with vigour and determination by the GECC’s Executive Committee and its full Council membership. When the GECC obtained funding for a 12 month HACC (Home and Community Care) pilot project (1987/88), Alan Cobham was employed at the Centre as a Community Research Oficer. His brief, jointly implemented with the Illawarra Community Centre, was to research the needs of the disabled ethnic population and also look at the usage by migrants of existing services available to people with disabilities. Alan Cobham proceeded to undertake detailed consultations with the following community groups: Croatian, Dutch, Italian, Macedonian, Serbian, South East Asian (Cambodian, Laotian and Thai) and the Ukrainian. As a by-product, un-intended consequence of the HACC Demonstration Project, the issue of aged care needs of migrants came up again: 112 people within these groups were found to have disabilities, of which 73 had resulting handicaps and 8 needing residential care. Apart from the South East Asian cohort, the consultations found that there was a large number of sick elderly people, many of them alone and with minimal level of English, while a number of couples were supporting each other, being extremely frail and unwell themselves7.

19 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


Together with the HACC Demonstration project, additional consultations with the Centre’s staff and the region’s aged care providers re-conirmed the need for establishing a multicultural aged care facility. A survey (September, 1988) of some 10 different migrant communities into immediate residential placement needs, as well as placements required in the next two years’ time, found that: 49 individuals needed immediate hostel placements, 97 over the next two years, while 69 currently attended day hospital/a Day Activity and Support Centre, with 186 of them being pensioners (see Appendix Three). Meanwhile, the Federal Government was making a number of announcements for funding to communitybased ethnic groups included in the “Report of the Hostel Options Project” and “An Equitable Funding Base for Hostels” in 1988. Alan Cobham in his inal report made a range of recommendations, one of which was the submission of a funding application to the federal government for a 40 bed hostel. For better operational and inancial viability outcomes, a 40 bed hostel was deemed to be a preferable option to that of 30. On relection, central to the heart of the multicultural hostel issue, there still remained the question of whether and how statistical data, numbers - and rhetoric, if one could ever see it that way - necessarily translated to the need for such. Was there no other way, no other options? Had everything been explored and found wanting? Migrant cultural expectations and practice, together with the formal and informal support provided by families and their extended networks, could not simply cover the magnitude and particularity of all circumstances. Some migrant elderly never got married; some had their adult children move within the state or inter-state; some had their spouse pass away or being extremely frail and unwell and in need of receiving care themselves. And of course, some just did not get on well with their families and close relations. Invariably in most cases, if not all, it so happened that the adult children had established their own young families, with their immediate priority being work and associated employment commitments. Above all else, their highest responsibility, of course, remained the fact of having to look after their own children, before they could care for their aging parents. Additionally, they now were faced with the challenging, emotionally taxing bi-cultural conlict: the pull from the parental culture and traditional heritage from one hand, while on the other hand also living, experiencing and being torn by the pull from their own peers’ culture in the general community. And most certainly, as reality was borne out by practice in the ield, the situation with the cultural relevance, response capacity and the insurmountable 20 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

pragmatic limitations of the general community’s residential aged care services sector was severely lacking, if not abysmal. 2. Formal application to the Federal Government for the establishment of residential multicultural aged care services. Following on from the above extensive body of work of speciic studies, research, surveys and community consultations spanning a period of nine years (19791988), on 14th September, 1988 the GECC submitted a formal application to the Federal Department of Community Services and Health for a 100% capital funded 40 bed hostel for NESB residents in the Barwon Region. A community based, non-proit organisation, with no connections to national religious bodies, welfare entities or private aged care providers, but iercely independent and in control of its own destiny, the GECC had no inancial reserves of its own at all, either in cash or assets. The request was on the basis of 100% capital funding, including the purchase of land, altogether totalling the amount of $2,210,000. This was argued on the basis of strong, speciic disadvantage factors, including socio-economic and cultural disadvantage, and of course, the fact that there was total lack of any multicultural or ethno-speciic residential facilities in the entire region. GECC’s strong leadership, headed by its President Frank De Stefano, together with the Centre’s wide professional, collegial links and co-operative arrangements with government departments and service providers in the community, social welfare and health sectors, ensured a broadly based support for the application. With a number of clariications inalised with the local members of parliament, full political support was provided from all State and Federal Government representatives, together with that of the local councils, ethnic groups and aged care providers in the general community (see indicative sample in Appendix Four). The hopes, expectation and anxiety of the GECC, as well as the region’s entire migrant population, reached the point of no return: nine years of persistent, substantive work; huge, current unmet needs, and future, anticipated demands accelerating at an alarming rate, had to have a positive outcome. Despair could not be contemplated anymore, with high anticipation now irmly perched in their minds and hearts.


3. Federal Government approval and the challenge of implementation. Indeed, in January 1989 the GECC got the response it expected. The Federal Department of Community Services and Health approved funding for its 40 bed hostel proposal, albeit not for the entire amount requested, but for $1,468,000. Excited and relieved, the GEEC was at the same time disappointed with the funding level. Yet, the amount approved was more or less anticipated and now a new challenging phase, that of implementation, was entered into. As the initial excitement sank in, it started to cause some serious thoughts about the monumental task at hand: what does one do without any previous involvement in residential aged care, without any idea of the dificulties, the myriad of bureaucratic regulations, processes and steps required in physically constructing the facility, let alone running one? Existing providers in the sector were approached and information and guidance, together with initial practical support, was sought from and given. That was the case especially with Kalkee Aged People’s Community and the Queenscliff Community Health Centre, through Barbara Abley and Arthur Rogers respectively who were administrators of these facilities at the time. The immediate concern now for the Council’s Executive Committee was raising the balance of funds for the project, which was to be in the vicinity of some $750,000. Daunting as the task was, the Executive’s commitment to it was unlinching. Its Council’s number one priority for the past four to ive years had to be proceeded with. First things needing to be tackled irst, adequate land in the appropriate location had to be found and secured. Then, the balance of funds had to be raised. The next step entailed working with the relevant Federal and State Government departments, submitting the required, appropriate documentation (design details, costings, budgets, hostel facility operational proposal); working with the local government and other public utility authorities for all necessary planning permits, and calling for a public tender – the Federal Government’s requirement - to engage a building irm to physically construct the multicultural hostel facility. Of course, most of these things did not necessarily follow a strict chronological order; they were intricately inter-connected, with one being addressed having immediate impact and implications upon the other. Thus, they had to be investigated and pursued, if not concurrently, but in a continuous rather than a static, isolated way.

4. Fundraising; the struggle to secure land. General community and media reaction to the establishment of a multicultural hostel by the GECC Given Corio Shire’s demographics and its initial strong support for GECC’s efforts to establish a multicultural hostel, the GECC approached the Shire for the donation of land. Firstly, a number of possible locations were looked at. Any suggestions made to the Shire by Frank De Stefano and Jordan Mavros for a number of possible locations close to community facilities and blending naturally with the adjacent neighbourhood and existing amenities, key conditions being departmental requirements, were outright rejected, as Jordan Mavros recalls. It was always a case of being directed to totally inappropriate, remote areas. Eventually, in its inal consideration of the matter, the Shire made a decision to not provide any land to the GECC. If at all, it would do so only on a sale basis at current market value (see letter from Corio Shire dated 30 March 1989, Appendix Five). Similarly, an approach to the State Ministry of Housing and Construction in February, 1989 for land along Donnybrook Road, Norlane, had the same outcome: such a request could only be considered if the land in question was to be purchased at commercial price levels. Frank De Stefano, GECC’s President, made the judgement that the issue - because of its merits and magnitude - had to involve the general community; all the local councils, the State Government and be fought fully at the public arena now. Of strong leadership skills, Frank De Stefano was an articulate, perceptive and inluential individual. A successful businessman in his own right (accounting, inancial planning and investment irm), he enjoyed the attention and respect of the general community. Extremely well connected with Geelong’s civic leaders, the business and professional circles, as well as the local federal and state government politicians, he possessed indefatigable inner strength, used forcefully and quite effectively, as circumstances called for it. Meetings were called during May – August, 1989 requesting the attendance of representatives from the local councils, State Government and all local members of parliament. Further, according to a formula devised on proportional numbers of migrants residing in the respective local government authorities, each council was requested to contribute its appropriate inancial share (see letter to Bellarine Shire, August 1989, Appendix Six). Of course, the GECC was fully aware of the fact that residential aged care was the responsibility of the Federal Government. But having got the Approval-inPrinciple from the Federal Department of Community Services and Health for the hostel proposal, albeit 21 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


without the full amount requested for it, it had no option but to try everything it could. Thus, the GECC in its desperate efforts not to leave a stone unturned, kept going to local councils, the State Government and all local politicians for support and direct contribution towards the hostel project. Invariably, it was thrown from one Department or authority back to another. At this stage, with no actual support committed by any authority, another battle of critical importance to the GECC’s hostel project was being waged through the media, which of course had to be won to enlist the public’s sympathetic attitude and give the project a positive, strong momentum. However, what needed to be carefully weighed and considered was the following fact: together with the project’s supporters in the general community, there was at the same time a clear section of the community, too, which had a strong opposition to it. It kept voicing its opinion and objection to the project through the local media. Indicative of this reality can be glimpsed from the attached segments “Letters to the Editor”, Geelong Advertiser, the region’s daily print media, of March and April, 1989. The corresponding irm and resolute response, lengthy as it was, deserves to be cited here fully, for it is most illuminating of the complexities and seriousness of the matter at hand. After all, the truth is one’s best defence in any case. Most importantly, though, legitimate concerns raised, irrespective of one’s viewpoint, had to be properly, dispassionately and accurately addressed and responded to.

Letter to the Editor, Geelong Advertiser

In 1986 the GECC and all migrant bodies throughout the nation had to ight the cancerous appearance of the Federal Government’s policy of “mainstreaming”: put simply and bluntly, the policy meant uniform provision and standard of services to all sectors of the community. The ‘one size its all approach’, ignored the speciic dificulties and attitudinal problems faced by migrants, discussed so far in this book. By implication and practical application, the policy of mainstreaming was nothing but a return to the disastrous policy of assimilation. Mainstreaming could not and would not guarantee access and equity (accessibility to and equitable utilisation of general community services and resources by all sectors and section of the community, including those of migrant backgrounds). Eventually, the Government recognised its error and pursued the correct policy of complementarity, effectiveness and re-enforcing nature of general community and ethnospeciic, multicultural services.

Letter to the Editor, Geelong Advertiser

Parallel to the above mentioned efforts of the GECC, the issue of public fundraising was also seriously considered. To that effect, a specialist fundraising agency ‘Spice’ was engaged to raise funds through a public fundraising campaign. Somehow, nothing

seemed to go right around that time, and with the collapse of the Farrow Corporation (Geelong’s own Pyramid Building Society) in July 1989, the general community of Geelong and its whole economy was dealt a mighty blow. The GECC’s Executive considered

22 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


the situation, and under the circumstances, inally arrived at its reluctant decision to abandon the fundraising campaign, and altogether being forced to disengage ‘Spice’. Yet, no matter what adversity threw up, the GECC was steadfast in its commitment to see the hostel project eventuate. While no local council, or the State government, was able to come back to the GECC with any inancial offer, hope at last appeared in the form of a land offer from the Geelong City Council in its oficial correspondence to the GECC dated 19th December, 1989: in lieu of the monetary contribution requested, it proposed to make a parcel of land at the old abattoir site in North Geelong available to the GECC for its hostel project (see Appendix Seven). The offer was conditional upon the appropriate ministerial approval for rezoning of the said land. This offer now breathed new life, renewed vigour and impetus into the hostel project.

Frank De Stefano’s response to the two ‘Letters to the Editor’

The GECC’s energy level could not but shoot high, and both relevant Federal and State Departments (Department of Community Services and Health, and the Health Department of Victoria) were accordingly informed of the land donation development. The Geelong Regional Commission (GRC), a State Government statutory planning authority, was

Frank De Stefano’s response to the two ‘Letters to the Editor’ 23 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


immediately approached and brought in to help out with all the preliminary, preparatory work for the hostel project, including site assessment, sketch design with a preliminary materials speciication, and with adequate resource availability, acting as a project manager at the initial stage. Frank De Stefano’s expediting this matter was of utmost importance as he assisted in the matter of provision of land for the hostel project and speeded up all necessary processes in his capacity of Mayor of the City of Geelong, together with his personal acquaintance with the Chairman of the GRC, Colin Atkins. Upon the provision of land, immediately the GECC set up a Hostel Committee in January, 1990. In addition to the GECC representation, the City of Geelong (Rob Davies), the GRC (Trevor Norton and David Dunipace) and the Queenscliff Community Health Centre (Arthur Rogers) got involved and made substantial contributions at that initial stage of the project. Once Graeme Williams and Associates were appointed as architects of the project in June 1991, Chris Niblett also joined the Committee. 5. Establishment of a new legal entity for the hostel project, Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc., for DGR and PBI status The next urgent step was to raise the balance of funds for the project. That sum was calculated to be approximately in the vicinity of $750,000. This was a cumbersome task at the time, both because of its magnitude while the Geelong community was still reeling from the Pyramid collapse aftershocks, as well as being a pre-condition of the Federal Department of Community Services and Health, before it would release its Approval-in-Principle (AIP) funds to the GECC. Thus, intensive efforts and hard thinking were now being put into the matter of public fundraising. Even at that initial stage, background work on conditions of funding donations and meeting applicable eligibility criteria, together with input sought from existing residential aged care providers and philanthropic trusts, all pointed to the fact of having to obtain the necessary and relevant tax status approvals and exemptions. The two critical ones were obtaining a status as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) and Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) organisation. As result, the GECC applied to the Australian Taxation Ofice (ATO), and having outlined in detail its hostel project, requested to be granted DGR and PBI status. When its application was rejected by the ATO, the GECC then embarked upon the process of setting up the hostel project as a separate, independent legal entity on its own right. After the GECC submitted all the relevant documentation to the Department of 24 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

Corporate Affairs Victoria, the Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc. was established as a new legal entity on 20th December, 1990. Things now seemed to be taking on some semblance of order, with a sense of certainty and progress, especially with the securing of the land, the GRC’s involvement and the setting up of a new legal entity. The work - attending to every administrative requirement on a day to day basis, keeping departments, councils and politicians appraised of all developments and maintaining their interest at a high level, constantly inding out new things and learning the ropes at every step of the way - all these things were carried out by the same core group, the GECC’s robust Executive Committee. Not having any previous involvement and experience in the aged care sector, with a total lack of technical and professional expertise which could not but naturally cause a feeling of apprehension and a degree of anxiety every now and then, the Executive Committee kept the hostel project’s lame alight, constantly feeding it with its passion. In turn, that passion radiated throughout the Council’s full membership, the migrant population and the general community in the region. In 1990, the membership of the GECC’s Executive Committee comprised the following individuals: Frank De Stefano, President, Italian community representative; George Ballas, Vice-President, Greek community; Joe Pavlovic, Secretary, Croatian community; Stan Okis Treasurer, Polish community; Slobodan Mirkovic, Assistant Secretary, Serbian community and Don Findlay Assistant Treasurer, Scottish community. The Executive Committee was resourced and supported by Jordan Mavros, the Geelong Migrant Resource Centre’s Co-ordinator at the time, who carried out all administrative tasks and acted as the key liaison, contact person for the project.


Ethnic Communities Council Committee, GECC 1990 Annual Report

Executive Committee, GECC 1990 Annual Report 25 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


CHAPTER THREE

Construction of the Hostel facility 1. Raising the funds Upon securing the land, together with the formalisation of the hostel project as a legal entity in its own right and the direct involvement of the GRC in the project, the entire efforts of the GECC were then directed into two key areas: raising the balance of funds for the project and undertaking the necessary steps for addressing all technical requirements including re-zoning, land subdivision; planning permits; concept plans, and project brief, technical speciications, and approvals of such by relevant authorities and Federal and State Government Departments. Already, a number of philanthropic trusts and charitable organisations had been approached for inancial assistance, as well. GECC’s tenacity had to be witnessed irst- hand to be believed, duly appreciated and admired. All local councils and the State Government were constantly being approached and asked for inancial contribution to the project. Negative responses by them were not seen as the inal take on the matter. Up to December 1989, the above bodies were requested to make a inancial contribution towards the purchase of land. Now they were asked for their assistance to help breach the gap of the balance of funds (difference between funds approved by the Federal Government and the overall costs of constructing the multicultural hostel). This gap ran from an estimated $750.000-$1mil in 1989 to $220,000- $300,000 by mid-1992. Accordingly, the councils were, once again, approached and asked to make their proportionate inancial contribution (see Appendix Eight). The GECC simply refused to take a ‘no’ for an answer; it just kept chipping away until it would see its vision become reality. Donation requests were being submitted and by the middle of 1991, the pledges by charitable and philanthropic trusts reached the amount of $57,000 which soon after increased to $69,000. Further, there were a number of pending requests for which responses had not been received. In between, as the two year time limit for the commencement of the project was approaching, the GECC informed the federal department of progress to-date and asked for a six month extension to the commencement time, which was promptly approved and granted (see Appendix Nine). 26 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

Approaches to the State Government were eventually fruitful as a $25,000 Special Signiicance Grant was approved for its Hostel project. This now, together with the value of the land ($200,000 to $250,000), pretty much brought the AIP (Approval- in-Principle) to the full costs of the project. By October, 1992 the Hostel project funds were as follows: indexed AIP, Department of Health, Housing and Community Services, $1,878,650; philanthropic/charitable trusts $69,000; State Government (Victoria), Special Signiicance Grant $25,000 and value of donated land $200,000/$250,000 (estimated): total funds amounting to the value of funds in hand, thus, was $2,172,650. With $2,2mil now secured, the project’s implementation was in sight of the GECC’s grasp from the inancial perspective. On 29th October, 1992 the Commonwealth of Australia through the Department of Health, Housing and Community Services forwarded the agreement to release funds to Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc. for the construction of the multicultural hostel project (Appendix Ten, front cover and signed page). Upon its receipt on 6th November 1992, the AIP agreement was executed and returned to the Department. The release, of course, was subject to all technical requirements too, as outlined here in the following section, of both federal and state government departments being fully met. 2. Land re-zoning and permit approvals; GRC involvement; concept and inal building designs As mentioned earlier, when the City of Geelong donated the land for the Hostel project, the Geelong Regional Commission (GRC) was also briefed. It was immediately engaged to provide the technical expertise in relation to a site assessment for its suitability to the project, as well as undertaking the sketch design and a preliminary materials speciication. Additionally, the GRC indicated it would be prepared to act as Project Manager only if it had available resources at the time. This involvement of the GRC, of course, ensured that the process of obtaining all the necessary permits and addressing the relevant technical requirements were set on the right track and footing from the very beginning. The other matter of great importance at that stage was the fact that the GRC’s involvement and its entire services to the Hostel project, together with those of the City of Geelong, were being offered free of charge. Every single


Concept drawing of the Hostel facility

of course, was further from the truth. Upon submission and display of the relevant documentation, the GRC received two objections in December, 1989 to the rezoning being proposed.

Site plan of the Hostel facility

dollar counted and nothing could be wasted, again, remembering that to bridge the funding gap, even with the AIP being indexed, an amount of up to $500,000 had to be raised at the time. The GRC immediately proceeded to have the donated land area rezoned and, on behalf of the Geelong City Council, submitted the required documentation for Amendment R41 to the State Minister for Planning and Environment. One would have thought that, given the Geelong City Council’s land donation and the GRC’s (planning authority) involvement, everything now would have been smooth sailing for the hostel project: nothing,

One objection was from the EPA (Environment Protection Authority) on the grounds that: the subject land was in the middle of an industrial zone and would be inappropriate for the future residents of the hostel project to be housed there; the existence of the Geelong Stockyards being within 200 metres of the hostel project did not meet the mandatory 500 meters distance, and because of the past operation of an abattoir on the subject land, together with the adjacent industrial activities, all that situation could have rendered the site contaminated by hazardous materials. The second objection came from L. & M. Antonello, the owners of the land immediately adjacent to the north of the hostel project site. The main objection was that, if rezoning was approved, it would limit industrial activities or further developments in the area; the hostel residents would be distressed by the ongoing industrial activities, and the presence of the stockyards, as well as the fact that, the Geelong and District Water Board’s outfall sewer, would present severe odour emissions problems. The objections raised by the EPA were rather quickly addressed. Further, discussions with the Water Board addressed the concerns raised. However, the objection 27 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


from the Antonellos ran into several months, before it reached its inal resolution. It took the personal approach and involvement of Frank De Stefano, again, fellow Italian of the Antonellos. Finally, in addition to numerous discussions and compromises, it was agreed that-now and in the years ahead- the GECC, its hostel residents and employees, would not object to any future industrial developments of the Antonellos’ land. From their side, the Antonellos undertook to withdraw their objection to the Amendment R41 application. This resolution took the form of a properly executed legal agreement documentation, duly signed by both parties on September 19th, 1990. At the same time, work was being undertaken on the technical site of the hostel project. The Federal Department of Community Services and Health (funding body of the hostel project) was kept abreast of undertakings on all fronts, including the technical aspects- concept plans and designs -as developed by the GRC. As the funding body, it informed the GECC that it had to have the approval of the Health Department of Victoria for the concept and presentation drawings, before in turn it would assess and approve of the full architectural hostel project plans. Following submission of the GRC concept plans and further discussions with the Regional Ofices of the Health Department in Geelong, the GECC was strongly advised to appoint an architectural irm to develop the detailed architectural plans, rather than rely on the services of a regional planning authority (see Appendix Eleven). Upon receipt of that advice, by the end of June 1991 the GECC, after having advertised and gone through the selection process, proceeded to engage the architectural irm G. Williams and Associates as the hostel project’s architects. The task of the irm was to undertake all the necessary work, including the development and inalisation of concept and design plans. Having further worked on the GRC’s concept plans, the architects developed an entirely new product with the inal design and plans. Meanwhile, the City of Geelong had approved GECC’s Planning Permit for the hostel project. The architects engaged a QS irm, WT Partnership, and requested the Quantity Surveying irm to provide a preliminary budget estimate on the hostel project. The initial estimate came at $2,161,000, with the inal one eventually being $1,976,000. By October, 1991 all the required technical details and necessary documentation for the hostel project were inalised and then submitted to the Health Department of Victoria in November, 1991 for the project’s Design Approval. A copy of that documentation was also forwarded to the project’s funding body, which had received the auditor’s and funds certiicates documentation, too, as required 28 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

by it. The GECC now had to wait for the assessment outcomes of its proposal to both relevant state and federal government departments. In July, 1992 the GECC received good news from the Health Department of Victoria; to its delight, the hostel project design approval was granted by the department. Meanwhile, in February, 1992 the architects requested the Geelong and District Water Board allow for the removal and relocation of the sewer vent. This was granted and, together with a number of technical matters with the Water Board being fully addressed by July 1992 (easement restriction matters of concern), the architects applied for the building permit in early October, 1992. Soon after, the building approval from the Building Referees Board was granted on the 2nd November, 1992. The GECC subsequently followed through and addressed some further minor details with the funding body. Eventually, the release of the AIP (Approval-in- Principle) funds notiication was received by the GECC on 6th November, 1992 from the Department of Health, Housing and Community Services, as mentioned earlier (Appendix Ten). The palpable excitement could not now be hidden, for the vision of the GECC to establish a multicultural hostel project for the region’s migrant elderly was about to materialise. At long last, calling for a public tender and appointing the building irm to construct the hostel, beckoned in front of the GECC family, its afiliates and the region’s entire migrant population. 3. Public tender process. Engagement of building irm As ongoing work was being undertaken and completed in administrative, technical and inancial matters on the hostel project, the funding body was being informed of all such developments. Graeme Williams and Associates, the project’s architects, were now working full steam with the GECC, the respective federal and state government departments, the Geelong City Council, the Geelong and District Water Board and other relevant licensing bodies/authorities. Already, more than three years passed from the time the AIP was granted. The strong concern of the GECC was that, as time went by, the hostel project costs were to inevitably escalate. Thus, it became imperative that all matters relating to fulilling the conditions for the release of the AIP approval were inalised and submitted as soon as possible. In pursuance of this goal and not to lose additional time, with the consent of the funding body, the architects having organised all detailed documentation (building design and speciications, transfer of titles), called


for a public tender, through the local media (Geelong Advertiser) on behalf of the GECC in June 1992, to construct the multicultural hostel project. Tenders received by the closing date, mid-July 1992, were mainly from local building irms and a few from regional and Melbourne based irms. With the input of the architects, ive tender bids were shortlisted, assessed and submitted to the funding body. No longer had the AIP funds release approval come through, and within a week in early November 1992, the GECC was accordingly advised by the Department of Health, Housing and Community Services to appoint the lowest tenderer, E. J. Lyons. Thus, the GECC proceeded to engage the recommended tenderer. So it came that on 4th January, 1993 it signed a Building Works Contract with E. J. Lyons and Sons, a locally based, Geelong family building irm with a proven track record and substantial prior experience on projects of a similar nature to GECC’s multicultural hostel project (Appendix Twelve). Lyons’ original tender bid for $2,519,863 was revised to $2,191,657 (the tender sum submitted to the funding body), while the inal contract sum signed for came to $2,019,760. A critical part of the contract was the fact that the architects were designated as the authorised agents of the Proprietor (Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc.) to approve, work with and monitor all the work carried out by the builder. No professional expertise, technical knowledge and experience, or prior involvement and understanding whatsoever, were available within the ranks of the GECC for buildings and physical infrastructure projects pertinent to the aged carespeciic area. In this respect, the contribution of the architects, especially their agent Chris Niblett, the irm’s key liaison and technical expert representative, proved to be most valuable pre, during and post- construction stages. With the Contract signed off and the dates set, Practical Completion Date being 28th October, 1993 and Date for Possession 7th December 1993, the stage inally arrived to turn the sod and for the GECC to, iguratively speaking, “get its hands dirty” on the hostel project. Of course, the legal entity ‘the Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc.’ was set up and existed since December, 1990. Yet, the GMH did not operate as a functional body (it was not up and running at that stage). The GECC was for all intents and purposes, and actual involvement, the body that carried out all the work until the physical completion of the hostel facility. It is in this context all reference is made almost exclusively to the GECC, up to 1994, in relation to the multicultural hostel project.

4. Commencement and completion of the Hostel facility construction; fundraising, public appeal launch The parcel of land donated by the Geelong City Council to the GECC for the multicultural hostel project is situated in a lood prone area. Needing to address this serious challenge irst, the hostel site level had to come well above a certain height, to meet the mandatory lood requirements of the City. This meant a fair bit of soil inill undertaking and land preparation, before any construction works could commence. Soon after the building contract was signed, the GECC approached a number of building irms undertaking big, commercial projects at the time to deliver unwanted soil from their projects to the hostel site. The Geelong City Council started carting soil to the site from a few of its projects at the time, along with some other developers. The City of South Barwon also made one of its trucks available for carting soil to the site. Once the inill and soil preparation-compacting works were completed, in early March, 1993 the builders commenced the hostel project construction in earnest. As can be recalled, the architects received all proposals from interested contractors, suppliers and tradespeople, assessed them and recommended the preferred proposals to the builders. This was to ensure the qualitative parts of the construction were of the highest standard, as well as ensuring possible cost savings to the project where GECC Hostel Project Committee members could - through personal, professional or business contacts to achieve construction cost reductions. As the construction works progressed, quite a few adjustments, variations and amendments had to be made. Most of them of course had inancial implications. With some presenting technical dificulties and challenges, inclement weather and the inspection of, and intervention on the site by the union representatives, a number of days were lost. This necessitated delays to the project’s practical completion. At long last, by the end of November, 1993 the multicultural hostel building was up and the GECC’s dream became reality now. Altogether, the builders claimed four weeks for time lost beyond their control. Following a number of discussions and negotiations, and the agreement by both parties that power, temporary lighting and the security (fencing) provided by the builder would remain on site- at a cost to the proprietor - until further notice, the matter of extra costs and inancial demands from both sides was inalised. From the proprietor’s side, the discussions and negotiating were mainly undertaken by Frank De Stefano and Chris Niblett.

29 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


While the original contract sum was $2,019,760, the necessary variations and adjustments resulted in the construction costs coming to the adjusted contract sum of $2,312,541. Meanwhile, the GECC was well aware of the need for more funds than it already had in its possession. To that effect, the GECC entered into negotiations with the builder in December 1992 and arranged for the provision of a $200,000 loan to ease the project’s cash low issues. By 11th May 1994, the date MACS (Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc., GMH) admitted its irst residents, costs of power supply, temporary lighting and interest on loan came to the amount of $9,358. Thus, the inal costs for the project amounted to $2,321,899, with some $300,000 additional expenses having already incurred above the original contract. The GECC and the GMH, with its newly established facility, were faced with and had to address another challenge now: that of fundraising. Even before the irst sod was turned, the GECC had no illusions at all as to the task at hand in terms of funds that had to be raised, both for the completion of hostel construction works, as well as the operational and administrative matters of the facility. All and all, some $500,000 to $600,000 had to be raised to fully cover the alterations-related extra costs, together with furnishings, it-out and landscaping costs. In addition to relevant charitable organisations and philanthropic trusts it had already approached, together with approaches to local councils and the State Government, the GECC was now calling upon the individual ethnic community groups of the region to raise funds for the hostel project. The value of that effort to the project was to be twofold: monetary, as well as symbolic. If the Serbs and Croats, the Greeks and Turks - just to mention a few - could sit down together discussing mutual and commonly shared concerns on general welfare and well-being matters, as afiliates of the GECC, the message to the public, to the whole of the general community of Geelong, was to be a powerful one. Eternal enemies having ownership of their problems and working together to address them, in this case the multicultural hostel project, they managed to do the right thing: amicably, civilly and seriously they were sitting down to discuss and consider the best available options. The inancial capacity of the different groups was limited, by the way. Yet the symbolism of the practice and gesture of collectively and individually contributing to the project was incalculable. The GECC, and on its behalf the Hostel Project Committee, had to do some serious, heavy lifting now on the fund raising front. In March, 1993 the Committee comprising Frank De Stefano, Joe Pavlovic, George Ballas, Slobodan Mirkovic and Jordan Mavros, as well as Chris Niblett representing the architects, decided to 30 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

embark upon a fundraising campaign, with the aim of eventually launching a public appeal. After some initial enquires and preliminary work in March 1993, Appeal Associates, a fundraising specialist irm from Melbourne was engaged in mid-April, 1993 to guide and support the Committee on its campaign. The key person from Appeal Associates (AA) was Peter Dalton. With input from AA, a case statement document for the campaign was developed, including the naming rights situation and the brick sale drive before the launch of the public appeal. A letterhead was developed with the wording “Sharing your future with friends who understand”. Following discussions and some thinking with the members of the Hostel Project Committee in July 1993, it was deemed critical for the success of the fundraising efforts that a well-respected and business connected individual be identiied and, as Chairman of the Appeal Committee, to drive the public appeal. Five individuals were listed and after a brief deliberation, it was decided then to make contact with Frank Costa and enlist him to spearhead the public appeal. To that effect, Frank De Stefano approached Frank Costa, asking him to be the Chairman of the Appeal Committee, so that some substantial mileage behind the efforts of the Committee could be obtained. Frank Costa’s was a most opportune, ideal choice for the position. He combined the cultural afinity and understanding for the cause of the multicultural hostel project, having an Italian cultural heritage himself, as well as being a prominent, public igure within the wider Geelong Community and the State of Victoria. An individual of impeccable personal ethics, integrity of character and unparalleled business success, he had a direct involvement and input in just about every single worthy social and community cause in the region. His richness in matters of the heart and the spirit could not simply be matched. To the delight of every member of the Appeal Committee, Frank Costa accepted the invitation and the Committee now started its work in earnest. The launch of the public appeal was set for 8th October, 1993 initially to be held at the Geelong West Town Hall, but it inally took place at the actual hostel site, with its target being $800,000. With some extensive discussion on the matter, the following was chosen as the motto encapsulating the spirit of what the GECC was trying to achieve with its hostel project: “Sharing your future with friends who understand”. The day before, the Buy a Brick campaign, aimed mainly at the region’s migrant groups, was launched with all local media and Melbourne based ethnic newspapers being invited to attend. However, the Buy a Brick launch did not have much traction at all, with only the Geelong News running a small ad (Appendix Thirteen). Yet, as


Frank Costa

the idea started to get through, it was not long before it began to generate a decent momentum. Public Appeal receipt books were printed, numbered and distributed to representatives of the GECC. It was then their task to sell as many tickets as possible to members of their respective communities. Bricks were selling at $50 each, with the donor receiving a personalised Certiicate of Appreciation, while purchase of two or more bricks entitled the donors for their name to be inscribed on the Honour Donor Board. A special section around the outdoor BBQ area was to be laid with bricks engraved with the nationality of the donor on the top side of the brick. Sales of bricks to pre-appeal stage were worth $8,300 and by the close of the Appeal in June 1995, the “Buy a Brick” effort reached some $42,000. As time went by, the Appeal Committee developed reservations, and having lost faith in it, started to question the quality of AA, the fundraising consultancy irm. Indeed, some factual mistakes were being picked up by the philanthropic trusts when funding proposals were submitted to them by AA. Following advice from, and being urged by the philanthropic trusts, the management of the public appeal component was handed over to Srechko Kontelj, the new Convener of the Public Appeal Committee in November, 1993. Eventually, AA were disengaged in December 1993 and the Hostel Project’s Appeal Committee took full control

of running the fundraising campaign. Meanwhile, the situation was again getting inancially tight in terms of cash lows, as pledges and donations were not coming in instantaneously. Frank De Stefano, through his personal contact, approached Kevin Roache from the legal irm Gargan and Roache Barristers and Solicitors and arranged for a $500,000 Solicitors Trust mortgage loan. The loan was repaid in full by March, 1998 and subsequently the mortgage was discharged. The Appeal Committee also engaged Jan Lancaster (January, 1994) on a paid capacity, a professional acquaintance of Frank De Stefano’s from the City of Geelong, to provide all the secretarial support and administrative tasks as required. She stayed and worked on that role until the end of December, 1994. Joy Leggo, the Executive Oficer of the Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc. (GMH,) joined the Committee, too, after the irst residents to the facility were admitted. The Committee brought in a few additional individuals with speciic links with the corporate, business and professional sectors, including Ken Jarvis, Peter Hudson, Robert Riordan, Kevin Roache and Joe Cordone. From time to time, more individuals were coopted to the Committee, as needed. Prospective donor lists were developed, then constantly revised and updated by the Committee members, who were divided into three teams, and allocated a list of 31 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


Caroline Hogg, Minister for Ethnic, Muncipal and Community Affairs presenting Cr Frank De Stefano, Chairman of Geelong Multicultural Hostel Project with a cheque for $25,000 Special Signiicance Grant for the Hostel Project.

prospective donors to whom they would make direct approaches. Mainly, the list of prospective donors was a case of individuals and families in private business, the corporate and banking sectors, developers and entrepreneurs who had the capacity to make inancial contributions to the project. Meanwhile, the ethnic community groups were organising cabaret fundraising functions of their own, individually or jointly with other groups. Additionally, the Geelong Community Radio station 3YYR was approached, as well, to run a radiothon. After a long, protracted effort with no radiothon approved by its Committee of Management, the station’s Multicultural Committee went ahead with a fundraising function at the Italian Social Club in Moolap. In addition to the philanthropic trusts, United Way Geelong made a $35,000 contribution, while the Shire of Corio and the Geelong City committed $50,000 and $5,000 respectively to the project (see Public Appeal details on the Select Documents section). Service clubs were constantly being approached through personal contacts. Other fundraising means explored by the Committee was a Debutante Ball with the attendance of the Premier of Victoria, the Hon. Jeff Kennett, as well as a Fundraising Dinner. The latter was scheduled to be held at Capri Receptions, at $75 per head, on 23rd July, 1994. However, due to inadequate sale of tickets within the ethnic groups, the Committee decided to cancel it. For the former function, advice 32 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

was waited on from the Premier’s ofice for a suitable date. For one reason or another, this advice never came through and in the end the Debutant Ball failed to eventuate. Personal approaches to the Premier from Frank De Stefano and Frank Costa for inancial support were not successful. The Premier, though, following the amalgamation of the local councils in Geelong, directed Frank De Stefano to approach the newly established City of Greater Geelong (COGG), administered at the time by three Commissioners, with Bill Dix holding the position of Chairman. In October, 1994 COGG approved an interest-free loan to GMH Inc. for $400,000 to be repaid over a period of 10 years. The Appeal Committee eventually decided to wind down its public fundraising campaign at the end of the 1995 inancial year. Its last meeting was held on 5th July, 1995 with the total funds raised ($535,000), together with future pledges, coming to the amount of some $550,000. The winding down of the public appeal signiied, in a way, the irst and most critical phase of MACS in its subsequent twenty years of consolidation, growth and development, a period of great achievements. Was it easy to achieve all this? No, it was not, particularly during the hostel project’s pre and initial establishment years (mid 1980s to early 1990s). Those were tough times, with challenging and confronting attitudes from


individuals and groups in the general community. Yet, a lot of effort was poured in and great contributions were made by a good number of decent people, also from the general community, who took it upon themselves to ight the just battle. As much as it is dificult to pick out individuals, historical justice demands that Frank De Stefano’s role and contribution to the Multicultural Hostel Project be acknowledged. The other members of the Project Committee, Joe Pavlovic, George Ballas, Slobodan Mirkovic and Jordan Mavros, as well as Srechko Kontelj who joined them later, offered devoted commitment and tireless work to the hostel project. Along with that effort, substantial was, also, Frank Costa’s pivotal contribution in terms of his personal time and standing in the community, as well as his invaluable corporate and business connections. Frank De Stefano singlehandedly championed the hostel project’s cause most effectively, and without his involvement, force of will and dogged determination, MACS would not exist today.

33 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


PART TWO

Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc. (GMH): The Formative Years


CHAPTER FOUR

Engagement of personnel 1. Engagement of personnel; appointment of the CEO, small core group of staff With the Hostel building approaching its completion, the Hostel Project Committee embarked upon the process of engaging the most crucial individual to run the facility: its administrator. The task of this key personnel was to help with and complete the inal it-outs and furnishings of the facility. Most importantly, though, it was to start engaging the core group of staff so that services of the highest standard could be provided to the Hostel residents upon their admission. The need, the very reason for setting up the facility, in the irst place, was to address satisfactorily the socio-cultural and attitudinal factors, touching fully and aligning with the emotive make-up of prospective elderly migrant residents, together with the immediacy of the language-speciic communication considerations. Thus, cultural relevance, understanding and empathy, as well as professional expertise were needed in the successful applicant to ill the position of administrator of the Geelong Multicultural Hostel. Simply, this matter could not be compromised or short-changed under any circumstances. In early November, 1993 the Committee advertised the position with the local daily newspaper, The Geelong Advertiser. From the submitted applications, four individuals were then interviewed upstairs at the old Geelong Migrant Resource Centre building in Pakington Street, Geelong West. At last, the time now had come for the successful applicant to run the multicultural hostel service. The interviewing panel, consisting of Joe Pavlovic, Frank De Stefano, Jordan Mavros and Barbara Abley, Kalkee’s CEO, for her aged care-speciic professional input and expertise, did not feel quite comfortable at the end of the interviewing process with any of the applicants. The panel was looking for both professional experience, expertise and competence, and just as much for the right approach, attitude, understanding and acceptance of migrants. Some applicants were strong on their professional experience and technical skill sets, but fairly poor on, or totally unaware of the importance of, the cultural considerations; while with other applicants, the reverse was the case. It was then that Barbara Abley made the suggestion to consider an individual she knew personally, with relevant professional expertise in running health/aged care related services. She contacted Joy Leggo, and encouraged her to apply for the position. 36 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

Joy Leggo at the time was working as the CEO of the Hesse Rural Health Service (from May 1988), comprised of the Beeac Hospital, Winchelsea Hospital and Leigh Community Health Centre, playing an instrumental role in their amalgamation to a single entity (Hesse Rural Health Service). She applied for the position of Executive Oficer with the Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc., and having conducted the interview with her, the panel was quietly conident that Joy Leggo itted the requirements of the position well. Not having a migrant heritage herself, especially impressive was her attitude and approach towards working with people of migrant backgrounds, in this case residents, their families and staff, as well as the region’s ethnic communities. Particularly noticeable was her humility and willingness to learn about migrant issues. From the word go, Joy Leggo was extremely keen and prepared to acquire all the necessary knowledge and skill sets to enable her to discharge her duties appropriately in this distinct work sector, with its speciic challenges, as well as opportunities. The panel, having satisied itself that Joy Leggo’s right approach was pivotal in providing her with the opportunity to obtain the actual expertise of working in the multicultural sector, decided to offer her the position. The perfected practice of being fully imbued with and constantly applying cultural awareness and respect, together with instilling the culture of caring, would come in time, along the process of working on the ground. Upon being offered the position, she resigned from the Hesse Rural Health Service in January, 1994. Joy Leggo was appointed to the position of Executive Oficer and on 31st January, 1994 she commenced employment with the Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc. (CMH). Immediately, she threw herself into the task of arranging and completing the inal furnishing and it-out requirements of the hostel facility, working with the Committee, as well as Chris Niblett from the architects, ensuring everything was done properly. As this was coming to an end, she next started preparing for the engagement of a small core group of staff to commence the provision of service. Advertisements for employment in a variety of positions (residential care staff/personal carers, activities worker, clerical assistant, cleaners, laundry hands, cooks, food


services attendants and maintenance person/gardener) were placed with the Geelong Advertiser on 5th March 19948, attracting an overall phenomenal response: over 500 applications were received. Following the shortlisting, interviews for the respective positions were then conducted by Joy Leggo and Jordan Mavros representing the Board. Other things being equal, having the right attitude, ability to speak a second language and having a migrant heritage were strong considerations, distinct advantage and preferred option in obtaining the position. No appointment was made at that stage for the position of Residential Care Co-ordinator, as the two appropriate candidates interviewed were on salary packages that could not be matched by GMH. 2. Commencement of services; admission of irst residents Of vital importance at this initial stage was the ongoing support received from Kalkee. Barbara Abley was a strong supporter of the Multicultural Hostel project right from the early, pre-establishment days. Fully encouraging and supportive, she provided a most pertinent, well-articulated letter of support with the GECC’s funding application and shared her knowledge and expertise most generously. Together with Arthur Rodgers from the Bellarine Peninsula Community Health Centre, Barbara Abley contributed her expert advice and alerted the GECC’s Hostel Project Committee to all challenging technical aspects of setting up an aged care facility as well as running one, ensuring pitfalls were avoided. Barbara Abley also participated in the process of selection and appointment of GMH’s Executive Oficer. Ultimately, she agreed to formally be appointed as a Director on the Board of Management of GMH and served on it until May, 2005. Further to all this, Barbara Abley now consented to releasing one of her Hostel coordinators, Jan Jansma, on secondment to GMH for a period of four months, to the end of June 1994. This enabled GMH to set up the relevant guidelines and documentation correctly; address fully all the residential care issues, and all along, provide guidance, support and direction to the newly appointed (April 1994) GMH’s Residential Care Coordinator, Roy Calic. Eventually, all being in readiness, the Geelong Multicultural Hostel, through the GECC and its networks, promoted heavily its services within the region’s ethnic communities. It did so as well with the relevant service providers, professionals, local councils and of course, the Barwon Region ACAS (Aged Care Assessment Service) team at Grace McKellar Centre, the multidisciplinary professional body making all assessments and determining the level and type of care at which elderly individuals were classiied.

The level of anticipation, excitement and anxiety was high with all staff, management and the Board of GMH. On May 11th, 1994 the irst residents requiring low care, were admitted at the Geelong Multicultural Hostel. In total, the following seven individuals were admitted in that very irst intake: Mrs Anna Amburs, Mrs Else Boehme, Mr Jan De Boer, Mrs Anna Pankannin, Mr Johan Peppinck, Mrs Lucia Whittington and Mrs Martyntie Van Doorn. The following day, 12th May, Mrs Taisa Kulhawac and Mrs Gerda Jannes were also admitted, while Mr Leonardo Boccassini entered into the care of GMH on the 13th May. They were from the following cultural heritage backgrounds: Dutch, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Ukrainian and Yugoslav. By the end of the inancial year, end of June 1994, twenty one residents from thirteen different cultural backgrounds were living at the GMH facility. They were being looked after and cared for by some 17 staff members: Joy Leggo, Executive Oficer Roy Calic, Residential Care Coordinator Maria Baldonado, Diversional/Activities Therapist Vera Luczo, Environmental Services Judit Adamko, Bill Frangos, Mary Gadjopoulos and Edith Orokity, Food Services Ernst Walter, Handyman/Gardener A. Bosnjak, Clinton Berends, S. Cordone, Linda Rizzi, Analisse Susak, Efthymia Tseres, Jane Vandenberg and V. Werzak, Personal Care Workers 3. Full operation of service; Continuation of fundraising, Public Campaign; Oficial Opening, The Hon. Carmen Lawrence The feedback received from residents, their family members and friends, together with visitors to the facility, was constantly positive, most encouraging and strongly re-afirming of the GECC’s dream to establish a residential aged care service for the region’s migrant elderly: GMH was providing a most welcoming environment, of irst class building facilities, great homely ambience; and importantly, staff with a friendly, caring attitude. What a relief and reassurance! Every single resident was being directly communicated with in their own language and dialect. This part of the service and value consideration was to become an embedded, permanent element of the MACS service in the years to come. It did not take that long for the facility to reach full occupancy. From ten residents in its irst three days from 11th May 1994, within seven months of operating, GMH had all beds occupied by December, 1994. Indeed, a 37 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


remarkable achievement, justifying the arduous hard work, incessant efforts and persistence of the GECC and the region’s ethnic communities in setting up the facility. Of course, what a crowning moment when the Hon. Carmen Lawrence, Federal Minister for Human Services and Health, came to Geelong on 2nd September, 1994 and oficially opened the hostel facility!

professionals, educational/training institutions and local council authorities.

The irst full year of operation saw the facility doing extremely well inancially, as well, with a modest surplus of some $24,500. Actually not a bad result at all, considering this was within a climate of no pre-existing assets or reserves whatsoever, no prior experience or involvement in the provision of residential aged care by the Board, and with an existing loan liability of $555,000. The strength of the facility was its human resources, from the Executive Oficer down to carers and cleaners, whose commitment to the facility and the care of its residents was inspirational.

Certainly, the support extended to GMH by aged care providers in the region from the pre-establishment days, including Kalkee, Bellarine Peninsula Community Health Service, St. Laurence Community Services and Grace McKellar Centre, proved to be of great value, both in terms of proffering professional expertise and aged care intelligence, as well as collegial support and networking opportunities to GMH’s senior management. At the same time, GMH started consolidating its operations and began to be considered as the expert culturally appropriate aged care provider in the region, and indeed the State of Victoria, given that all other existing culturally oriented aged care service providers were ethno-speciic (with one, single cultural group focus), while GMH was a multicultural, truly multi-ethnic, all inclusive aged care provider.

Since its opening in May,1994 some 74 residents had experienced care, inclusive of permanent residents, as well as respite and trial care, at GMH facility. The good word was by now spreading within the region’s migrant groups and the service providers, organisations,

Along its full service development and consolidation, GMH was also working frantically and intensively on the fundraising front, outlined in detail at the end of Part One. To the relief of everyone concerned was an occurrence of great signiicance to the GMH: the newly

Geelong Multicultrual Hostel Oficial Opening. Federal Minister for Health, The Hon. Carmen Lawrence, Mrs Mary Vrind, resident and Mrs Liddy Kordorffer, W.O.T Trainee, Migrant Employment Program 38 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


amalgamated, single local government authority, the City of Greater Geelong, COGG, coming into existence. Having being approached by the GMH’s Chairman, Frank De Stefano, it approved an interest- free, $400,000 ten year loan facility to GMH in October, 1994. The Public Appeal Committee headed by its Chairman, Frank Costa, decided to bring the campaign to an end, after having raised close to $550,000 (receipts and pledges) by the end of June, 1995. On the service provision, professional standards front, GMH achieved another great result in February, 1995. After it had a visit from the Standards Monitoring Team, Commonwealth Department of Health and Human services, GMH was found to satisfactorily have met all twenty ive standards related to issues of care and quality of life of the residents. Further, staff at GMH started to identify emerging unmet aged care needs within the different ethnic groups, including adult day activity services, home based services and nursing home care. With a full complement of staff, GMH felt it had the professional conidence, competence and capacity to embark upon expansion and further growth of its services. In its third year of operation, there were thirty eight staff members on board, operationally doing a sterling job. The Board of Management was just as eager now to set the strategic directions and future growth parameters for the next ive to ten years.

39 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


CHAPTER FIVE

Service Development 1. Organic development/evolution of service, pace and quality aspects Usually, the inancial bottom line and proitability are the irst, if not the only things, looked at these days to make an instantaneous assessment of an organisation’s overall health and well-being. Not that inancial strength has not been, or is not, at the forefront of the Board and management’s consideration for GMH/MACS from the very commencement of its operations. At the end of the day, it enables you to do business and improve the quality and quantity of your services as well. Yet, an organisation is a living entity; it is people – human resources, the governing body, staff, volunteers, community groups, the interaction and relationships with service providers and colleagues – and cannot simply be considered as a statistical metric only of numbers and percentages. At the second year of its operation, GMH’s Executive Oficer, Joy Leggo, made the following observation: “All our residents, regardless of their country of birth, have a wealth of wisdom to share with us and many share common experiences – they have fought in wars, been through Depressions, some have left their homeland and families to migrate and settle in Australia, faced inancial and employment dificulties, and endured a loneliness through the isolation of not having an extended family. Many too have struggled with the frustration of losing their grasp of the English language they had tried so hard to learn……There is more to health management than crisp eficiency. In this ield of aged care we have to deal with moral and cultural issues as well as ethical choices”9. How refreshing, indeed, it is to see that moral and cultural matters are ranked on the scales of signiicance, with ethics daringly coming to prominence, as well. The power differential is also being neutralised here: ‘All our residents, regardless of their country of birth, have a wealth of wisdom to share with us…’ In this simply stated and profound commitment, our residents are no longer the frail, helpless and hopeless elderly who need to be ‘managed’. To be looked after and cared for, yes; but consider the contribution they themselves bring to this caring process; a wealth of experiences and wisdom to be shared and equally valued and appreciated. These quality aspects clearly indicate that the evolution, the growth and development of GMH followed an 40 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

organic, healthy process. Nothing was rushed, either operationally or programmatically. Critical mass and operational eficiencies considerations, important as they were, could not just be proceeded with from the word go, for the time and the circumstances had to be right, together with amassed service provision experience and perfecting practice. An opportunity presented itself for GMH to apply for the provision of home based aged care CACPS (Community Aged Care Packages) services, advertised by the Department of Human Services and Health in August 1994. After assessing all positive and negative factors, GMH declined to do so. Joy Leggo in her EO’s Report outlined a number of considerations, crystalizing the matter in relation to CACPS situation: “CACPS would be seen as a further extension of our work in caring for elderly members of the ethnic community…..CAPS would have been an appropriate means of care, as an introduction to placement in permanent residential care…….Is the Hostel Committee and Management spreading themselves too thinly, by further expanding services at this time?”10 Board members did not take long to realise that, just four months on from the time GMH commenced its operations, such a move would be unwise, inappropriate and even risky. The people themselves, the elderly, remained at the centre of the ‘caring’ continuum. As the GMH facility was taking more residents in, and in a parallel way engaging more staff, a sense of fulilment and completeness was being had from the Board, the EO, staff and right through to the residents. The sense of creating a warm, all accepting family environment, uniquely enriched with varied and shared experiences, soon began to develop, its inviting ambience now being palpable within and outside GMH’s invisible walls. The different cultural groups within the region’s ethnic communities were approached and actively engaged. They started to hold performances at the facility with dance groups, choirs and individual artists coming in on a regular basis. As well, ministers of religion were encouraged to visit the facility and attend to residents’ spiritual needs, as required. GMH even had a resident priest of Ukrainian background who actually lived in the facility until his death. For those residents who could not, or did not wish to go out to the community, the


Cultural Performances with residents

community was, iguratively speaking, brought in to the facility, altogether providing a sense of wider community inter-connectedness and belonging. The staff members themselves, with the caring, irm and fair guidance of Joy Leggo, were feeling more comfortable in their roles and capacity to provide culturally appropriate care and support to residents of GMH and their families, relatives and loved ones. Constant in-service, training and professional development opportunities were being provided, including tuition of the English language for those members who felt insecure and uncomfortable with their competency in English. As mentioned above, again on the quality front, just within the second year of its operation (February, 1995), GMH was able to meet all the twenty ive quality outcome standards of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services. The following year (1996), GMH through its EO, Joy Leggo, participated in a project run by the same Department on the provision of ethnic aged care services. Although not winning the award, GMH was shortlisted as a best practice facility. Meanwhile, relecting the evolving reality of its future strategic directions and service development opportunities, the organisation deliberated on the matter carefully. Eventually, seeing it as the only sensible and necessary option, the Board members decided to formally change its name from Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc. to Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS) Geelong Inc. at its strategic planning session held on 16th March, 1998.

In September, 1998 MACS successfully achieved “Safetymap” Initial Level, through its own initiative from staff participation to a health and safety management systems audit, conducted by the Victorian WorkCover Authority. In July, 2000 following an extensive process, MACS satisfactorily met all standards of the Commonwealth Aged Care Standards Agency, obtaining its formal accreditation for the ensuing three years. In 2002, MACS submitted an application for and was awarded the “Meritorious Service Award in the Community”, as part of Victoria’s Awards for Excellence in Multicultural Affairs. For all intents and purposes, MACS was now a irst class aged care provider, well cognizant of its responsibilities in the sector, and taking pride in the excellent standard of care it provided to its residents. Their care was not allowed to be compromised, as each and every one of them was accorded the utmost dignity and respect. Equally, MACS’ operational practices were fully accountable and transparent, ensuring they aligned well and further enhanced the quality aspects of the entity. At the Board and governance level, there was steady leadership continuity, as well as strong connections and a co-operative, active working relationship with the GEEC and the region’s ethnic community groups. Frank De Stefano stayed on as Chairman of GMH/ MACS till 2000, ensuring stability, consolidation and organisational strength for the years that followed.

41 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


2. Managerial and operational matters: challenges and opportunities, learning on the ground With the passage of time, along the process of setting up a new facility and providing care on a daily basis, came this learning on the ground, this balanced, healthy experience for all concerned - the Board, management, staff, volunteers, the ethnic communities, and above all else the residents themselves. For it takes time to settle in, feel comfortable with the new environment and its people and develop the self-awareness and conidence of belonging, state of being, permanence and comfort. In addition to the Residential Care Coordinator and Activities Co-ordinator positions, a Residents’ Committee was also established, with Garnet Trainor being its inaugural Chairman. The Residents’ Committee held its irst meeting on 28th June, 1994. In its March, 1996 monthly meeting, the Board decided to establish the following three Sub-Committees: Finance Committee, meeting monthly; House and Grounds Committee, meeting quarterly, and Standards Monitoring Committee, meeting bi-monthly. All committees had Board and senior management, relevant position representation. By 1998, Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc. stopped to exist; instead, it had been reborn and known as MACS. The position of the Executive Oficer was already upgraded and Joy Leggo now became the CEO of MACS in March, 1997. In 1998 two further in-house committees, the Occupational Health & Safety and Medication Advisory Committees were established for better quality assurance and monitoring, risk management control.

currently care for, nine are from a non-English speaking background, ive of whom have little or no English. It can therefore be seen that we do have a cultural responsibility to continue to care for these residents at a higher level if we have the appropriate resources and trained staff to do so”11 At the same time, the federal government had already taken on and pushed the principle of “aging in place” within the aged care sector. This policy was now part of the Federal Government’s Aged Care Reforms, announced in the October, 1996 Budget and coming into effect from October, 1997 (Aged Care Act). Providers now could make the necessary adjustments to allow the elderly to stay in the same place/ unit of accommodation without having to be shifted, as their needs changed. The challenge for GMH was the fact that, in terms of human resources, a number of staff with higher and/or more appropriate levels of qualiications and expertise would be needed to be engaged to implement the policy of ‘aging in place’. Luckily in a way, as far as the physical aspects of the facility were concerned, the building was rendering itself to this without huge, costly adjustments and modiications. Mainly, it was an issue of additional human resources and cost implications. However, the need and the generated pressures, providing at the same time new opportunities, were not coming from just ‘within’ the facility; but mainly, these were coming from ‘without’. The number of prospective migrant elderly needing high level care was now growing

Management and senior staff, in addition to addressing resident care and quality issues, were also having their ingers on the pulse in relation to the important matters of the constantly increasing, varying and new emerging needs of the region’s migrant elderly. On the hostel, low care level, a healthy, gradually increasing waiting list began to develop. In addition to the provision of home based aged care, the issue of nursing home-high care level needs started to cause painful concerns for residents themselves, their respective families, the ethnic groups, staff and the Board. The facility, being a low care facility was not geared towards caring for residents requiring high level of care, let alone those aflicted with any of the Alzheimer’s, dementia spectrum related complex conditions. In terms of cultural sensitivity and responsiveness, what was the point after all, caring for migrant elderly in a culturally appropriate manner and then, as soon as their condition deteriorated, requiring high level care, having to be moved out of MACS and transferred into another facility? Cruel, indeed, was the prospect of such an eventuality. Management’s position on the issue was pertinently, almost perfectly, articulated by Joy Leggo, MACS’ CEO: “…..Of the ten high care residents we 42 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

Cultural Performances with residents


at an accelerated rate. This was clearly shown by the population statistical analyses undertaken by MACS of the 1996 Census regional demographics, as well as the assessments done by the Barwon Region ACAS (Aged Care Assessment Service) team. Employees with higher qualiications and experience in providing care for complex needs, and additional inancial resource considerations aside, simply and plainly the truth was this: MACS just did not have, and therefore, needed more beds to accommodate those requiring high care. Never to shy away from such challenges, MACS made the establishment of a nursing home facility a key priority. With the irst opportunity available to it, GMH applied for the establishment of a 30 bed high level care, nursing home facility in February, 1997. The implementation proposal was to come at the cost of $1.3 million. However, GMH was notiied in May 1997 that its application was unsuccessful. The rejection was based on the Federal Department’s (Health and Family Services) assessment of the proposed service’s poor inancial viability prospects and inaccurate inancial assumptions contained in the application. Not dissuaded by it, in January 1998 GMH again applied to the same Department for the establishment of 21 low level care beds, with emphasis now on addressing the needs of prospective residents with memory loss conditions. Again, the application was unsuccessful. In February, 1998 another opportunity was there for the CACPs, home based aged care service provision. It was considered that, for inancial viability reasons, GMH had to apply for at least 40 packages. Having assessed all aspects of the implementation challenges CACPs of that size would present to the organisational capacity of GMH, the decision was made by the Board not to submit a CACPs application12. By 1998, establishing a nursing home facility became irmly entrenched as one of MACS’ strategic goals, forming a key part of its 1998-2002 Strategic Plan, including the establishment of a secure dementia speciic facility. This latter dream was to be implemented in the years ahead and become reality some ifteen years later. To that effect, MACS in 1997 managed to purchase from COGG the additional parcel of land immediately fronting the GMH facility. On the inancial front, MACS was doing just as exceptionally well: by June 1997, only three years after it commenced its service operations, it managed to reduce its loan debt from $550,000 to just $52,000. This excellent inancial outcome was achieved as a result of careful, prudent operational and inancial management practices, as well as the pledges made as part of the Public Appeal fundraising exercise coming in. Time was right, and all augured well now for the next major project of MACS, its high care service development, the nursing home project.

3. Change of the entity’s legal name from GMH to MACS; land acquisition; setting the strategic directions and parameters of the organisation, together with the foundations for its future growth and expansion At this time, a number of crucial strategic and policy directions were taken by the organisation. Additionally, constant operational, managerial and administrative developments were occurring internally within MACS. Of course, there were pressures and challenges at the practice, service provision front. At the same time, though, a most valuable, steady consolidation of experience and expertise was being acquired. This reality, together with governmental changes and impending challenging policy frameworks, necessitated that MACS positioned itself strategically. This overall approach ensured that all the associated opportunities thus generated, could be fully implemented at every given opportunity. On 16th March, 1998 GMH held its irst strategic planning session at its premises. It is interesting, for a moment, to relect on this event as it is indicative of the plethora, multiplicity and complexity of parallel tasks, activities, and preoccupations GMH was constantly involved in, alongside its service provision, during the early years of its operation. The irst time the issue of a strategic planning session was raised by the organisation’s EO, Joy Leggo, was in March, 1996. In her EO’s report she made the following observation: “As mentioned in the December (1995) report and following on from the Standards Monitoring Team, I think it is appropriate that the facility look at our direction, the development of our philosophy and objectives and a strategic plan that will see us through to the year 2000”.13 The Board fully concurred with the position of the EO. The apprenticeship was well-served by the organisation; it was time now for GMH to formally develop its overall philosophy, values, a Vision statement and Strategic Plan. GMH’s future directions and destiny had to, irst of all, be crystallised in the minds and hearts of its Board, management and staff. Then, the wider community could clearly see and follow its fortunes in the years ahead. Accordingly, the EO was instructed to organise a planning session for Board members, with the attendance of a specialist, expert in aged care to facilitate the planning process. Further, the EO was requested to develop a detailed Strategic Planning Discussion Paper. Already from this time on, GMH had formally expressed its interest to COGG in purchasing the additional land at the abattoir site. By the time all the negotiation steps were inalised, including the purchase price/inancial considerations, as well as the technical requirements (authorisations, EPA clearance, land sub-division, 43 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


Cultural Performances with residents

planning permits, Water Board concerns such as easements and repositioning of water tanks used by the Stockyard opposite), the land sale documentation was completed and the acquisition inally occurred in September, 1997. The matter was mainly negotiated on behalf of GMH by its Chairman, Frank De Stefano, and COGG’s CEO, Michael Malouf, together with involvement of the GMH’s CEO and senior technical staff from COGG. By a good turn of events at the end, as much as diligent handling, fortune favoured the cause of GMH: GMH made an offer of $120,000 for the purchase of land. As a counteroffer, the City’s original asking price came at $500,000. Following independent land valuation of the site and further negotiations, the agreement reached was a wonderful outcome for GMH. It was a combined settlement for the existing loan facility and the land purchase. It consisted of a inal price of $150,000 for the land and a re-negotiated igure for the balance of the $400,000 ten year interest-free loan facility (details of the facility discussed already previously in the book) reduced to $181,000 from $320,000, with $80,000 having already been paid up for the 1995/96 and 1996/97 inancial years. This re-negotiated igure was arrived at and agreed upon the condition of being paid in advance and in one remittance, bringing the overall amount owed to COGG to $331,000 which had to be paid by the end of June, 199714. In addition to the direct interaction and communications between the two main parties, GMH 44 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

and COGG, this was a nineteen month continuous, intensive process involving relevant state government departments, technical specialists and statutory authorities, together with formal legal and inancial arrangements. Meanwhile, in May, 1996 a resident, Mrs Zenona Walters, bequeathed her house to GMH which came to its possession in 1998. The CEO then had to arrange for some improvements to it and arranged for it to be rented out through a local real estate agent. I the end, the house was sold in November, 2006 for the amount of $160,000. Meanwhile, a property in close proximity to GMH on the northern side of the facility was up for sale which GMH decided to buy in August, 2005 for $204,000. Following the sale and settlement of Mrs Walters’ bequeathed house in February 2007, the purchased property was, in a small naming ceremony on Tuesday, 13th November 2007, accordingly given the name of Mrs Walters: ‘Zenona House’. Zenona House is now utilised as the administration base of MACS’ Community Services. The Strategic Planning matter being kept constantly on the Board’s agenda, in March 1997, the CEO, Joy Leggo, presented to the Board at its monthly meeting, a Strategic Planning paper outlining the key elements and thematic matters for consideration . Having called for expressions of interest from strategic planning specialists, in May 1997 Joy Leggo recommended the engagement of Kate Barnett, of Kate Barnett and Associates from Adelaide in South Australia, as the


most appropriate individual to facilitate GMH’s strategic planning session. The recommendation came on the strength of Kate Barnett’s direct experience and work in the aged care sector. Somehow, due to a convergence of many matters, it took another ten months until inally the strategic planning session was held on 16th March, 1998. In attendance were the Board Directors, Frank De Stefano, George Ballas, Srechko Kontelj, Barbara Abley, Jordan Mavros, Slobodan Mirkovic and Grazia Shrimpton , together with the senior staff, CEO Joy Leggo and Residential care Co-ordinator Roy Calic.

philosophical orientation and approach to the culture of the organisation. All that stayed the same of course, albeit with a renewed vigour, singularity of focus, purposeful direction and robust determination formalised in the adoption of its new name. One name was gone and another came into being for the organisation. With ‘MACS’, the concept and promise of the future, its visionary potentiality, was now ushered in. The excitement was visible with everyone, as the foundations were irmly laid for the promise of greatness to be fulilled in the years ahead.

The session undertook a thorough, extensive and critical appraisal of GMH: its operations, skills, expertise, role in the region’s aged care sector, its strengths and weaknesses, and importantly the presenting opportunities, as well as the future directions and positioning of the organisation. It was strongly felt that there were great possibilities and opportunities for service development and delivery, for growth and expansion of programs and projects. At the same time, a distinct understanding permeated the thoughts of all directors, that there was an inescapable need and natural evolution for operational eficiencies to be on a competitive level with other regional providers. A key impediment for all these potentialities was identiied as being the name itself of the organisation. Why just “Hostel”? Nowhere near was that term and concept encompassing, and conjuring effortlessly and automatically in one’s mind the image of, the full range and depth of aged care services.

A mission statement was developed, strongly supported by a set of core values:

As a result, it was decided to free up the name’s shackles and come up with another term that would be relective of the opportunities and future directions of the organisation. Certainly it was felt that the word and concept “Multicultural” was not up for negotiation; it would have to stay. After all, it deined and gave strength to the entity’s reason for being. Somehow, the integral elements came up naturally: the organisation was about aged care services, multicultural in its nature, and concerned about addressing the needs of the migrant groups in the Geelong region. So it came up as Multicultural Aged Care Services- Geelong. Good and all inclusive as it sounded, the observation was made that it was a bit long-winded, and as such an acronym had to be found. The irst four words just rolled along one’s tongue effortlessly, MACS, simply and easily. The momentary comment that it could be lightly taken and confused with Mac, the McDonald brand - something which no one would want then - was quickly dismissed. Following a quick giggle about it, that is all the Mac comment took, the Board members bit the bullet and settled for MACS. What had occurred was by no means radical or sinister; the same people, the same commitment to the region’s migrant elderly, the same values and

“Multicultural Aged Care Services – Geelong is dedicated to the provision of excellence in care, to meet the diverse needs of the multicultural community in the Geelong region”. Multicultural Aged Care Services - Geelong bases its policies and procedures on a number of values which we hold to be essential. We believe in providing care which • Promotes dignity and respect • Is based on integrity • Values cultural and religious diversity • Encourages the expression of an individual’s cultural heritage • Allows freedom of choice • Respects the privacy of individuals • Relects dedication on the part of staff and management • Strives for continuous improvement and world best practice in the standard of care and provision of services • Ensures accountability to all interested parties – our clients, their families, the wider community and our funding bodies • Is based on cooperation and collaboration The key strategic goals for the entity’s future directions were grouped into ive areas: (i) To establish the full range of care services appropriate to the needs of the local community (ii) To achieve recognition as a service of excellence in accordance with the most recent aged care reform requirements (iii) To continue to forge links for the beneit of the multicultural community and to uphold the creative involvement of the region’s multicultural communities in MACS (iv) To ensure that accurate, regular and timely information about MACS is communicated to the local multicultural community. 45 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


(v) To ensure that MACS operates in a inancially viable and iscally responsible manner. Each of the goals had a set of objectives with corresponding action plans, together with a speciic ive year time framework and allocation of responsibilities.15 The ive goals were distilled to the following goal statements: - Providing for care at all levels to achieve “Aging in Place” - Providing care which meets standards of excellence - The development of alliances and linkages - The development of a communications strategy - Effective inancial management This unmistakably signiied the organisation’s resolve and dedication. MACS now set irmly and articulated formally the strategic directions, together with the operational values-guided and quality- assurance parameters for its future growth and development. It did not feel strange at all that, in implementing and strengthening the above goals and directions, a number of actions were taken. The Board through its Chairman, as outlined above, had already made approaches to, and arranged for the City of Greater Geelong, to sell the land immediately fronting the hostel facility for its future nursing home development. This of course eventuated and the land was secured in September, 1997. Further, senior management and the Board were constantly looking out for every opportunity that might present, including provision of day centre and community, home based services. During these times, there was another distinct concern within the human services sector. The concern was that small, single service provider organisations might be squeezed out of the ield due to a change of the Kennett State Government’s policy directions in the area of service contract agreements and models of service delivery. The public service was geared towards signing fewer, rather than a multiplicity of service agreements, with a multitude of service providers in each region. To that effect, service delivery proposals were encouraged and sought from regional alliances and bigger entities to deliver a wide spectrum of services, instead of having to negotiate and inalise separate service provision arrangements with every single entity. As a corollary to it, and further aggravating the risk concerns of the community and human services sector, the policy was to be delivered through a iercely competitive tendering process. This policy direction, while exposing the vulnerability of individual organisations, especially the small ones, at the same time was promoted by the government as 46 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

presenting opportunities for both, greater cooperative and collaborative organisational arrangements, as well as business growth and development. Its overall importance was seen as delivering maximum eficiencies, better dollar value for inite public purse resources and greater operational outcomes. Alongside these State Government policy directions, there appeared an additional locally based, organisational level service development, an amalgamation focused occurrence within the health services sector. A number of such services entered into the process of intensive discussions and consultations on the matter of merging themselves into a single entity of a regional health services provider. This development at the end eventuated with the formation of what now is known as Barwon Health, comprised of the following organisations: the Geelong Hospital, the Grace McKellar Centre, the Geelong Community Health Service and the Corio Community Health Service. In their majority, the region’s organisations within the community-human services sector saw that such a development was now posing clear competition challenges to other regional health and human service providers. MACS, through its CEO, Joy Leggo, took part and entered into a long process of establishing a regional alliance that was a response both to the state government policy directions, as well as the local health services proposed merger. This attempt for the establishment of a regional alliance was to safeguard and add greater organisational capacity to its members and extend their scope of service provision. The proposed alliance was a select group of like-minded, community based, non-proit organisations with similar values and operating principles, coming together to work with and support each other in whatever eventuality was to occur with the State Government’s service agreement, service delivery policy directions, and the eventual merger of the local health and hospital service providers. Following long, extensive discussions at the CEO level, relevant reports were circulated to, and discussed with the respective Boards. That process was followed by an initial meeting held at the premises of the Geelong Ethnic Communities Council (GECC), at the Geelong West Town Hall, on 4th September, 1997. Further, legal advice was sought on the formation of the entity, and matters of its structure, functions and operating principles were bedded down. Eventually, with the inal meeting of CEOs, Chairs and select Board members from the respective member entities of the proposed alliance, organised and held at the same premises on 9th June 1998, the Barwon Community Care PTY LTD (BCC) alliance was born. MACS formerly joined the BCC alliance in August, 1998. BCC was comprised of the following ive organisations: St. Laurence Community


Services, Gateways Support Services, Kalkee, MACS and GECC. An independent Chairman was considered by the alliance and eventually Trevor Cole, from Tucker’s Funeral Services, was installed as its inaugural Chair. However, other than putting a tender proposal to the State Government ( Victoria) in late 1998 and obtaining a small grant ($30,000) to implement an emergency response service project for clients with personal safety alarms in the Geelong region, which was then administered by Gateways Support Services, nothing much else happened. On a few occasions where BCC could put a tender proposal for the delivery of regional services, each time a member organisation of the alliance would veto such a move. The intending services, for which the proposed tender would be submitted to the Government, were seen to be a core business of the objecting organisation.

programs, projects and services. Consolidation of practice expertise, status development and sector recognition generated and exuded conidence in all undertakings in which MACS was involved. Together with committed and dedicated Board, management, staff and volunteers, MACS now had not only conidence, but the internal strength, conviction and capacity to implement its nursing home and related aged-care services and projects.

At the same time, another event which had the last and inite word on the issue, was the fact that in the October 1999 State elections, the Kennett government lost the elections and was ousted. With the Labor Party now in government, the human services sector, certainly the smaller organisations, breathed a sigh of relief. They felt that the impending threat of being devoured by big entities, or squeezed out of the sector, due to lack of being awarded any tenders, had gone for good. Eventually, due to lack of activity and starved of opportunities, together with its inability to generate any sort of business or service; without an inherent purpose or role to play, the alliance was left with no functionality for existence now. No realistic options were left available to be further explored, so the member organisations of the Barwon Community Care alliance took the decision to wind up BCC in April, 2002. By 2000, MACS had successfully managed to come to the end of its formative years. In this timespan of six years of operation, the organisation was integrally assisted by its maturity of administrative, operational, planning and policy development consolidations, together with a robust inancial management application. Incidentally, the ‘Approved Provider Status’, that is the formal assessment by the Department, and its approval, of an organisation as an aged care service provider enabling it then to receive funds and provide services, was still with the GECC in 2000. Having organised and completed all the relevant documents, Joy Leggo submitted the application to the Federal Department of Health and Aging, requesting the ‘Status’ be transferred from the GECC to MACS in August, 2000; the request was granted by the Department and the ‘Status’ transfer became effective as from 28th August, 2000. One could not fail to recognise that MACS was clearly sitting on the precipice of its next dynamic phase of great growth, development and expansion of its 47 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


PART THREE

From GMH to MACS: Consolidation, expansion and full integration of multicultural aged care services


CHAPTER SIX

Expansion of residential services 1. Proposals to establish a high care facility As outlined briely in Chapter Five, MACS’s irst attempt to establish a high level care, nursing home facility, was made in February, 1997. Its application to the Federal Department of Health and Family Services was rejected in May 1997. Investigating and following the matter further, the CEO obtained the relevant information and details. In addition to the reasons given by the Department for MACS’ unsuccessful nursing home proposal, Joy Leggo told the Board that from the allocation of 78 nursing home beds made available by the Federal Department across the State of Victoria, 23 beds had still not been taken up. Most likely, those beds were to be held over until the following year. The organisation now started preparing itself, waiting and biding its time to have another go at it, again, when the next available opportunity presented. Indeed, that opportunity did not take long to arrive. It came in the form of an approach being made by the Grace McKellar Centre. Grace McKellar Centre was at that time part of the newly formed entity, Barwon Health. In October, 1988 Peter Faulkner, Manager of Extended Care at the Centre, put a partnership proposition to Joy Leggo, the CEO of MACS, for the provision of multicultural nursing home services. As part of Barwon Health’s strategic plan, it had been identiied in the development of the plan that the Geelong area needed a multicultural speciic, high level care service. Grace McKellar was to undertake a major re-development and had a number of beds (over and above the 140 which were to be put up for tender); MACS was seen as the logical, appropriate partner to manage those additional new beds. The discussions with Peter Faulkner at that initial stage were fairly general. But the overall understanding had by Joy Leggo was an encouraging one: Barwon Health might have no dificulty in the beds being placed on MACS’ land and MACS having management control. No inancial matters or arrangements of any administrative nature were discussed on the proposed partnership deal. It was indicated, at the same time, that Barwon Health would certainly be open to discussion and negotiations on issues relating to stafing, fundraising, transitional phases and the like. The Strategic Plan of Barwon Health was to be 50 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

launched at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 28th October, 1998. Joy Leggo asked the MACS Board at its monthly meeting on October 26th, 1988 if it agreed to her pursuing the matter with Barwon Health. She would do so after the launch of Barwon Health’s Strategic Plan at the AGM, in order to commence, and enter into, formal discussions. The MACS Board agreed to this and was prepared to hold a Special Board Meeting once additional information was available. Thus, the attempt by MACS to establish a nursing home facility started in earnest. In the ensuing months, discussions continued between MACS and Barwon Health at a senior level. At the same time, MACS was pursuing the nursing home issue through the State Minister for Health and Aged Care. On Friday, 18th June, 1999 the Minister, the Hon. Rob Knowles, requested a meeting with representatives from MACS and Barwon Health. Chairman Patricia Heath, CEO Stan Capp and General Manager Peter Faulkner, Grace McKellar Centre, attended on behalf of Barwon Health. Jim Fletcher, Geelong Regional Ofice, from the Department of Human Services, and Frank De Stefano, Chairman and Joy Leggo, CEO, from MACS, were also in attendance. During the discussion that followed, Minister Knowles, in full support of the preliminary consultations between the two organisations that had taken place to that point, stated clearly that he did not have any objections to the transfer of thirty beds from Barwon Health to MACS. The Minister saw this arrangement developing into a win-win situation for both parties. He made his approval of this transfer arrangement coming to a conclusion, conditional upon two key considerations being satisfactorily met: (i) that MACS show they have the inancial capability to service the debt for the construction of a new facility (remember that MACS at that point had no reserves whatsoever and had to borrow funds from its banker, in the vicinity of $2.5 to $3 million, to construct a thirty bed nursing home facility), and (ii) that MACS employ some of the staff associated with those thirty beds and inancially meet the costs of staff payouts for leave liabilities, as per the advertised devolution process. Further, the Minister requested that, all discussions and arrangements taking place on this bed transfer process,


be kept in strict conidence from the general community. That would ensure the avoidance of any likely public criticism and also ensure the smooth, unhindered and timely conclusion to the transfer process. Following the development of a business plan by MACS, the Minister would then make a public announcement regarding the beds transfer situation. Subsequent to the meeting with Minister Knowles, Joy Leggo had two further meetings, one with Peter Faulkner from the Grace McKellar Centre and one with Jim Fletcher from the Regional Ofice of the Department of Human Services. The key points discussed and agreed to, in principle, were the following: Grace McKellar Centre would meet and settle all entitlements of their staff involved in the devolution process, with MACS offering same employment conditions; the Unit Manager of the new nursing home facility would be employed by MACS, and the State Department of Human services would negotiate with the Federal Department of Health and Aged Care for the transfer of the thirty beds from Barwon Health to MACS. The Regional Ofice, Department of Human Services, required a Business Plan from MACS by 16th August, 1999. As previously mentioned, upon the Business Plan being received, assessed and accepted, Minister Knowles would then proceed to make a public announcement on the matter. Along with all these developments, MACS had to consider another option: wait until the Federal Government advertised for high care level beds. MACS could then apply for such, without having to worry about any possible additional costs related to staff employment conditions and transfers, with likely industrial relations complications connected with the Barwon Health/ Grace McKellar Centre - MACS beds transfer deal. Having considered the matter carefully and thoroughly, it was felt that high level care beds would be quite unlikely to be advertised in the near future, given that the Geelong region was seen as already being ‘over-bedded’ with nursing home beds. At this stage, MACS did not want, and could not afford, to take any risks with its nursing home project. It decided to proceed with the Grace McKellar Centre deal. The immediate tasks at hand now were the development of a Business Plan; engaging an architect to develop the initial design plans with the estimated costs for the construction of the thirty bed nursing home facility, and securing a bank loan for the implementation of the nursing home project. This last matter was necessary because there was no capital funding at all allocated by the Federal Government. Unlike the situation of the hostel facility project for which the GECC got approval in its application back in 1988, all capital costs for the construction of the nursing home

facility had to be provided by the organisation to which the bed licences were allocated. 2. State Government - Barwon Health support/ deal: obtaining the bed licences On September 14th, 1999 the Hon. Rob Knowles, State Minister for Health and Aged Care made a public announcement, through the local daily newspaper, The Geelong Advertiser, in relation to Grace McKellar Centre’s $30 million major re-development. The relatively extensive article contained some details on the MACS nursing home beds arrangement. As expected, from all parties concerned - Barwon Health, MACS and the State Government - there followed no public backlash on the nursing home planned deal after the announcement. Meanwhile, MACS, through its CEO, Joy Leggo, started working intensively on the project. In a letter to Jim Fletcher, Manager, Provider Management, Regional Ofice, Department of Human Services, dated 6th September 1999, Joy Leggo informed him that MACS’ banker, the Bank of Melbourne, had already provided an Approval- in-Principle to MACS’ application enquiries for a $2.5 million nursing home project loan. This AIP loan approval was now indeed good news. With the impending State elections (October, 1999), things were held up momentarily until the outcome of the elections. As it happened, the coalition lost the elections. For a moment, there was uncertainty as to what the Labor Government’s position would be on the Grace McKellar Centre-MACS bed transfer arrangement. At the 22nd November, 1999 monthly Board meeting, Frank De Stefano, Chairman of MACS, reported that he had a very positive, successful meeting with the local Labor members of Parliament, Ian Trezise and Elaine Carbines on 19th November, 1999. Both members were strongly supportive of MACS’ efforts to expand its service provision to the area of nursing home care. Elaine Carbines undertook to arrange for the Minister for Housing and Aged Care, the Hon. Bronwyn Pyke, to visit the MACS facility before Christmas, 1999. In January, 2000 Peter Faulkner from the Grace McKellar Centre requested MACS to supply him with a letter, indicating the expected time frames for the construction of the nursing home facility . By April, 2000 things took a decisively advantageous turn for MACS: Chairman Frank De Stefano reported on the outcomes of two meetings with the State Government and Minister Pyke. The Chief of Staff, State Minister’s Ofice for Aged Care, indicated the Department’s full, 100% support for the proposed bed transfer arrangement. It was now a matter, for the respective Federal and State Government Departments, of determining the best way to effect the transfer. 51 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


The Commonwealth also showed strong support for the proposal. All indications pointed to the State Government transferring the allocated thirty beds back to the Commonwealth which in turn would transfer to MACS thirty “unencumbered” bed licences. If it did inally happen that way, it meant no connection to Grace McKellar Centre’s devolution process and industrial relations implications on MACS, or the State Department. In the second meeting with Minister Pyke, the Minister re-afirmed her Government’s favourable position on the transfer of beds to MACS. Any likely and actual delays would only be a matter of unavoidable administrative, red-tape delays16. In light of this evolution and turn of events, Joy Leggo with her usual foresight, developed a brieing, discussion paper for the Board’s consideration. The discussion paper (one Board oriented, one architect oriented) looked at not only the now impending construction of the nursing home facility, but more importantly, the overall MACS site development over the next ten years. In the discussion paper, Joy Leggo recommended the production of appropriate architectural concept plans for the nursing home facility, as well as a site Master Building Plan. As a result, a select number of architectural irms were approached to submit their proposals. In June, 2000 Joy Leggo received from the Department of Human Services the Transfer Deed for the nursing home beds to be duly signed by authorised individuals of the MACS Board. Following the change of personnel at the Regional Ofice of the Department of Human Services, Jim Fletcher who was the project’s manager, left the Department and Stuart Muller was now acting in the position. He was to get back to Joy Leggo and inform her as to when the Department, in its turn, would sign the Transfer Deed documents. Time went by, and still in February, 2001 the matter had not been resolved from the Department’s side. Its communication to MACS indicated that the delay was due to some administrative, technical and inancial implications considerations. Those considerations clearly constituted the sticking points with the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aging. Political pressure was exerted through the consistently strong support of the local State member for the seat of Geelong, Ian Trezise. In March, 2001 a letter from Minister Pyke to Ian Trezise indicated that the bed licences transfer issue should be successfully concluded in two months’ time. The following month, April 2001, the State Department conirmed that the transfer of beds would be on an “unencumbered” basis, meaning it would be with full Commonwealth subsidy and no need for State Government top-up funding. On 19th June 2001, some two and a half years’ time since the initial approach by Peter Faulkner in October 1998, 52 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

MACS eventually received the good news, in a letter dated 13th June, 2001 and sent to Joy Leggo from the Federal Department of Health and Aging. The transfer of nursing home beds to MACS was inally agreed to and inalised by both Federal and State Government Departments. The relief, excitement and sheer euphoria could be no longer contained. Management, staff, volunteers and the Board were elated now. The intensity and signiicance of the feeling generated by the inal outcome of that protracted arrangement can only be glanced at, and only partially appreciated, by what at the time was simply and spontaneously expressed in Joy Leggo’s announcement to the staff and Board Members: YIPPEE!!!! Do you believe it!! We have our Nursing Home Beds (see Appendix Fourteen). At the Board meeting, 22nd June, 1991 the Chairman of MACS, Dr. Srechko Kontelj, requested and it was unanimously endorsed by Board members present, that the Board’s appreciation be formally recorded of the efforts made by the Chief Executive Oficer, Joy Leggo, to ensure that MACS inally obtained the thirty high level care beds. 3. Appointment of architects; architectural concept plans & site Master Building Plan; securing funds & fundraising It may have taken twenty eight months for the transfer of high level care beds from Grace McKellar Centre to MACS to eventuate, but once it did, then it opened up the doors for the future overall development of the organisation. Now the promise, the vision in waiting, was to materialise in the ensuing ifteen years. Upon the preliminary arrangements for the transfer of bed licences, through the Grace McKellar CentreDepartment of Human Services-MACS deal, being bedded down; MACS’ vision for the future began to unfold. In June 2000, the process of working on the production of an overall Master Building Plan was already set in motion. Following interviews with ive architectural irms, the MACS Board, in its November, 2000 meeting, resolved that the Bradbury Dicker Group be appointed as the architectural irm to design the concept plans for the thirty bed high level care facility, within an overall site Master Building Plan. Lee Dicker was to be the principal architect MACS would deal with. After the production of a number of draft plans, a special Board meeting with the architects was held on 29th May, 2001 to discuss the Master Building Plan. A number of alterations and adjustments were suggested by the Board members. Subsequent to that, the Board approved the inal version of it in its August, 2001 meeting, with the MACS “Master Plan” awaiting now to be realised.


Next, the architects turned their attention to developing the concept plans, and moved on to inalise the detailed design plans. Once the QS estimates were received, then six building irms from Geelong, Colac and Melbourne entered the tendering process to construct the nursing home facility. MACS, like in the earlier years did not again have any reserves of its own to construct the nursing home facility. Obtaining the necessary funds through a bank loan, as well as undertaking a public fundraising campaign, was now a high priority issue to be vigorously pursued. It did not take long for the realisation to sink in that the building costs would go well above the vicinity of $3 million. Immediately, the Board instructed its CEO, Joy Leggo, to investigate the best business deal for a $3 million loan. In November, 2002 the building contract was signed. The Board also resolved to sign a $3 million loan contract with the Bank of Melbourne, with the loan facility to be discharged over a ive year period. $2 million of the total amount was set at a ixed rate, while the remainder $1 million was left on a variable rate.

2003. A strong advocate of social justice issues and community interests, he was particularly appreciative of, and well versed in, cultural diversity matters. He had a long association and productive, co-operative partnership with the Geelong Ethnic Communities Council/Migrant Resource Centre, through his position as Regional Manager of the then Department of Social Security. Alongside Fred Freijah, a number of MACS Board Directors and its CEO (George Ballas, Slobodan Mirkovic, Jordan Mavros, Joy Leggo), together with business- connected individuals from the community, made up the Appeal Committee (David Collins, Robert Riordan, with Ahmed Elzahbi also joining the Committee in December, 2003; Barry Fagg, Daryl McLure, Terry Tayler, Peter Hudson and Frank Costa contributed their time and assisted the Appeal Committee at different times, as required). The Appeal Committee was administratively assisted by Daniela Costa, who was appointed to the Position of Appeal Coordinator in March, 2002.

Already, by June 2001 the issue of setting up a committee to undertake a public fundraising campaign was considered. It was felt, though, at the time that it would not have been advisable to do so until the architectural plans and design details were furnished by the architects. With that in place, the Board would then have a reasonably accurate idea as to what the appeal target should be. In its June 2002 meeting, the MACS Board had a lengthy discussion on the fundraising issue. A number of individuals (Frank Costa, Patricia Heath, Peter Hudson, the Fagg brothers, Shirley Costa, Fred Freijah) were identiied as possible candidates. Whoever was to be eventually chosen, would then spearhead the fundraising efforts, upon their appointment to the position of Chairman of the Appeal Committee.

This time, MACS had the experience of the past in its favour. Even before the Appeal Committee started meeting formally, funding requests were submitted to philanthropic trusts and charitable institutions. MACS, with a strong, well established credibility in the sector of aged care services, and the runs on the board now, proceeded with the fundraising task positively and optimistically. The Committee held its irst meeting on 10th July, 2003. The launch of the Public Appeal was set for, and held on, the 2nd October, 2003. The local print media were briefed well and did provide strong support, promoting the appeal extensively. As its driving appeal message, the Committee chose the slogan:

In its January, 2003 monthly meeting, the MACS Board resolved for Slobodan Mirkovic to approach Ray Abikhair and invite him to take on the Chairmanship of the Appeal Committee. He declined the invitation, and Joy Leggo at the April, 2003 monthly meeting now raised the stakes on the fundraising front. She expressed her strong concerns about the fact that no decisions had been taken about the composition of the Appeal Committee, and of course, not a Chairman being on board yet.

The appeal target was set at the level of $1 million. For a visual impact and instantaneous public information communication purposes, a “large Jigsaw pieces house” board, along the MACS building site and tracking the Appeal’s progress, was set up. Each time $50,000 was raised, a piece was placed over it. The large board with the “jigsaw house” was placed on the side of road facing the nursing home site, while a smaller “jigsaw house” was also placed at the foyer of the GECC premises in Pakington Street, Geelong West. The Appeal target date was set for June, 2004.

When approached, Frank Costa, due to existing business and other social and civic commitments, declined to accept the offer of becoming the Chairman of the Appeal Committee. So was the case with Barry Fagg. In the end the Board settled on, and upon being personally approached By George Ballas, Chairman of MACS, Fred Freijah accepted the position in June,

As was the case in the past on innumerable occasions, the region’s ethnic groups were called upon, and did come, to MACS’ aid. Additionally, the service clubs, corporate entities, businesses big and small, government departments, the philanthropic and charitable sector, as well as individuals were

“Shaping Services for the Multicultural Aged a call to Geelong”

53 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


approached to support MACS’ second fundraising effort. MACS also organised an Appeal Finale Cabaret Function on 1st October, 2004 at the Capri Receptions Centre, North Geelong. Naming rights at different dollar value levels were set up, along similar lines to the irst public appeal. In addition to major grants provided by the trusts and charities, a substantial contribution from the federal government, Department of Health and Aging, was also received in the amount of $281,000 for equipment and furnishings. When a naming right donation, for the overall nursing Home facility, was made in the amount of $250,000 by the Costa family, in honour of their mother Mary, the Committee was closing in on its target. On May 19th, 2003 at a special function held at MACS, Frank Costa was formally installed as its Patron, recognising his long standing, continuous commitment and interest in the fortunes of MACS since June 1993, together with his strong, most generous support and donations. Construction of the facility was well on its way by that time, and “Mary Costa House”, MACS’s high level care service, its nursing home vision, was being realised. Within a time span of ifteen months, the Appeal Committee managed to reach its target. It held its last meeting on 21st October, 2004. Having accomplished its task by raising $1,003,000 the Appeal Committee achieved a great outcome, altogether putting the Board’s inancial position on a healthy footing. 4. Construction of Mary Costa House Facility Six building irms submitted their proposals to the tender process, to be duly assessed by MACS for the construction of the thirty bed nursing home facility. Four of those irms were interviewed. In its September, 2002 monthly meeting, the MACS Board resolved to approve the signing of the building contract with the lowest tenderer. Thus, the building contract was signed with S.J.Higgins Pty Ltd building irm in November, 2002 to the value of $3,850,445. The facility’s Practical Completion date was set to be 20th November, 2003. Work on all necessary technical and regulatory requirements that needed to be addressed, such as town planning permits, building permits, EPA approval and technical concerns with Barwon water, were already undertaken. With everything now being in order, the building irm commenced its construction works for the nursing home facility in January, 2003. Already from 28th November 2001, a Building Project Control Group was set up comprising George Ballas , Slobodan Mirkovic (Board Directors), Joy Leggo, CEO and Linda Rizzi, Residential Care Co-ordinator, from MACS and Leigh Dicker and Noel Bradbury from the architects. Meeting on a fortnightly basis, the role of the Group 54 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

was to attend to all technical, administrative and design aspects of the project. Construction works were now progressing well and on schedule. In addition to the nursing home facility building works, modiications and alterations to the kitchen and dining area, as well as podiatry, hairdressing and fernery, re-developments of the existing hostel facility, Borrela House, were also taking place. Incidentally, the name “Borrela” for the hostel facility was adopted in July 2005, in a long process of wide consultations with Board, management and staff, which started in early 2004. Upon the Board deciding in its September, 2004 meeting to go with the name “Harmony House”, the staff launched a strong opposition to it, presenting it to Joy Leggo, through the collection of signatures of staff objecting to the name. The shortlisted choice names comprised of “Harmony House” (Board preference), “MACS House” (staff preference) and Borrela House”, one of the three names suggested to Joy Leggo in her brief consultations and discussions with the Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative, in July 2004, were thrown back to the staff for their further input. Finally, in its July 2005 meeting, the MACS Board resolved to go with “Borrela House”, the indigenous word meaning ‘rest’. At its Annual General Meeting in October, 2005 with a formal naming ceremony oficiated by the Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative, the hostel facility was formally named “Borrela House”. Just by some good fortune around this time (early 2003), another project opportunity with the State Government was about to come to fruition: the SHIP (Social Housing Innovations Project) independent living units project, which was to be jointly implemented by MACS and the GECC. Under the circumstances, the MACS Board having considered the matter from all practical aspects, and following the recommendation of the respective CEOs, Joy Leggo and Jordan Mavros, decided to see this project completed with the engagement of the same architectural irm, while the construction of the units was to be undertaken by a domestic builder. Full details on the SHIP project are accordingly provided further below. Due to some days lost as a result of inclement weather, the Practical Completion date was adjusted from 20th November to 12th December, 2003. By the end of the year (2003), construction works for the nursing home facility were completed. All that remained were some internal furnishing matters to be inalised. At long last, with the issuing of the certiicate of occupancy by the building irm, the Mary Costa House high care facility was now ready to start admitting its residents in 2004.


5. Operation of Mary Costa facility A last minute jitter, raised by the Federal Department of Health and Aging, had the MACS Board hold an extraordinary meeting in the irst week of 2004. The Department requested a clear certiicate of occupancy. On 14th January 2004, S.J. Higgins builders provided the clear certiicate and on 19th January, 2004 Mary Costa House admitted its irst residents. As it had happened with its hostel facility, MACS once again was fully vindicated for its burning desire to establish a high care facility. It enabled it to meet a great community need, further assisting MACS’ commitment to and implementation of ‘aging in place’. This time round, it did not have to take ive, six or seven months; MACS’ nursing home facility was full within just six weeks. Aiding the situation at the time was an approach made in December, 2003 by the Department of Health and Aging in relation to the impending closure of the local Pineville Nursing Home facility. MACS responded positively to the request and admitted all seven residents of migrant background from Pineville. Slowly but steadily, a waiting list started to develop now for prospective high care needs residents. In February, 2003 the Residential Services Co-ordinator, Linda Rizzi, resigned her position, effective as from 23rd May 2003, to travel overseas and help out with a family business. In view of the oncoming nursing home facility, as well as the imminent implementation of the community aged care packages service, Joy Leggo did not recommend her replacement. Instead, she suggested the employment of a well-experienced, qualiied aged care services practitioner with the following skills and expertise: sound knowledge of modern trends in gerontology nursing; extensive knowledge and understanding of the funding system and the workings of relevant government departments and statutory authorities; IT literacy; well established professional links and networks in the community’s aged care sector, and ability to skilfully represent MACS. Having identiied the individual, and following a formal interview, MACS appointed Bernie Melican as MACS’ Director of Care, to commence duties on 12th May, 2003. The position of Director of Care was now to be responsible for both, the residential as well the community based aged care – CACPs, services of MACS. Further, a registered division 1 nurse, Lyn Beardsley, was recruited and appointed on 15th December, 2003 to take a lead role in the initial stage of the nursing home facility’s operation. Additionally, seventeen more staff were recruited in December, 2003 and complemented by twelve personal care traineeships, through the GECC’s training program, on a 15 hour per week engagement.

The irst few months were a time of settling in for the residents, as well as being an important period of learning and adjustment for them, their families and staff. Shifts were being constantly monitored and worked out to ensure care was provided to the residents at the optimum level, while also attaining administrative eficiencies and operational outcomes. Naturally, trial and error were unavoidable, as the desired practice model could only be identiied through that process. Unmistakably, however, as far as the caring continuum was concerned during that initial stage, it was a matter of responding and addressing the issues arising, rather than conidently predicting and accurately planning approaches. Thus, the process was a reactive, rather than a proactive one. Alongside MACS’ constant effort to bed down an effective caring routine, generating a feeling of conidence and comfort for both residents and staff, there was another issue of minor but constant frustration and irritation, the continuing modiications and minor refurbishing works taking place at the Borrela House, which eventually were inished in March 2004. With further claims and disputes on works not properly completed within the speciied time, discussions and protracted negotiations between MACS, the architects and the building irm did not actually inish until the following year. A speciic concern, both of the CEO as well as the Board’s - requiring delicate, sensitive and at the same time irm handling - was the matter of potential MACS intra-cultural tension and friction. Who was at the top of the “ownership” and professional pecking order between the Borrela and Mary Costa House facilities? How territorial vested interests could be overcome, or more importantly, not be given the green light to be entrenched? Which one of two residential facilities was the “real” MACS, the heart and soul of the organisation? The challenge was real, parochialism strong and could not just be dismissed as a matter of quirkiness, or peculiarity of certain employees. Again, Joy Leggo’s irm, just and professional application, reinforced by her personal conduct, set the right parameters and expectations for all staff. Additionally, the physical proximity and connectivity of the two facilities, Borrela House and Mary Costa House, with commonly shared management/ administration services, kitchen/ food services and laundry services, aided management’s direction of generating and insisting upon the sense, perception and reality of a commonly shared and “owned” aged care facility, MACS. As Mary Costa House reached full occupancy, in addition to the appointment of Director of Care, two more senior positions (internal) were also appointed: Environmental services Manager (Vera Luczo) and Food 55 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


Services Manager (Jan Braddy), altogether relecting the gradual, but at the same time ongoing growth and complexity of services administered by the organisation. Together with the operation of the high level care service, the SHIP project and the community aged care packages (home based aged care, described in Chapter Seven below), came along as well. MACS now began to provide a more inter-linked continuum of aged care services. Staff employed reached beyond the number of ninety, covering the full range of languages and cultural backgrounds of residents in the care of MACS. Most importantly, all resident were equally attended to, and their needs adequately met, regardless of where they found themselves within the MACS family. 6. SHIP (Social Housing Innovations Project) project: MACS - GECC joint development As part of its public housing policy, in 2001 the State Government of Victoria called for expressions of interest from community based, non-proit organisations, including the culturally and linguistically diverse-migrant sector (CALD), to develop social housing proposals. This policy was a practical way for the Government, through its Ofice of Housing, to help alleviate the housing needs of inancially and socially disadvantaged individuals. MACS, together with the GECC, put a joined feasibility proposal to identify the need for social housing within the multiplicity of Geelong’s ethnic community groups. In August, 2001 notiication was received from the Ofice of Housing, Department of Human Services (DHS), informing the applicant organisations that the proposal was approved and an allocation of $20,000 was made available for its implementation. Joy Leggo and Jordan Mavros (in his capacity also of Chief Executive Oficer with the GECC) were instructed to carry out the feasibility proposal. Following the successful completion of the feasibility proposal, a inal Project Report was produced by the respective CEOs and forwarded to the Ofice of Housing in April, 2002. The Ofice of Housing was quite pleased with it and indicated that, under its SHIP (Social Housing Innovations Project), the joint proposal was given priority for funding to construct social housing units. In September, 2002 MACS and the GECC were invited to complete a more detailed application to secure SHIP funding. A joint submission was then lodged requesting $2.1 million to construct 4 one bedroom and 12 two bedroom units for inancially and culturally disadvantaged individuals in the community. On 21st November, 2002 Joy Leggo and Jordan Mavros, on behalf of the joint applicants, met with representatives from the Department of Human Services 56 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

in Melbourne. During the discussion that ensued, the departmental representatives stated that, following the assessment of the application, they conirmed an allocation of $1,017,950 would be made available for the construction of 6 single and 2 double bed units, with no extra funds being made available for escalating costs. The funded bodies, MACS and the GECC, had to also make a contribution of their own to the amount of $177,179. If the offer was accepted, the project had to be completed and the units built by June, 2004. The Department wanted substantial equity in the units, equity for a period of 30 years, and requested to have a second mortgage on the land title, which was successfully negotiated with and accepted by MACS’ 1st mortgage holder, the Bank of Melbourne. The MACS architects, already working on the nursing home project, advised initially that it would be somewhat cumbersome to implement the SHIP project within DHS’ expected timeframe, having to carry out work alongside the nursing home which was then right in the middle of being constructed. The dificulty identiied by the architects was that the nursing home project was constructed by a commercial and unionised building irm, while the SHIP project units would be considered as residential. Once completed, not much of operating proits would be expected to be made by the SHIP project’s independent living units. It was simply, but importantly, a matter of adding another component to the aged care services continuum offered by MACS. Neither was it possible to ensure any savings on the departmental construction costs funding made available for the SHIP project: all funds had to be spent on the actual construction of the SHIP units. No incentives were permissible for cutting corners on quality aspects, refurbishing items or any other item. Essentially, the units were to provide affordable housing for individuals of migrant backgrounds who under the old system, due to their limited inancial means, qualiied for what was known then as Housing Commission accommodation. In January, 2003 Joy Leggo and Jordan Mavros recommended the offer made by the Ofice of Housing, DHS, be accepted and that the Bradbury Dicker Group architects be engaged for the completion of the SHIP project. The units would have to be built by engaging a domestic, rather than a commercial builder. This was mainly recommended due to the fact that the SHIP project units were considered a residential, relatively small undertaking, with no particular technical complexities or challenges, as well as for avoidance of industrial relations complications. As the building irm at the time constructing MACS’ nursing home facility was unionised, the builder of the SHIP units would have to come onto the site after November 2003, the Practical Completion date for the nursing home facility.


Following acceptance by the MACS Board of the recommendation by the respective CEOs, the Department was then accordingly notiied. It set all the paperwork in motion and proceeded to organise the funding agreement, which was to be signed by both parties, the funded bodies and the Department, by 31st March, 2003. The next step was for the approved design and planning documentation to be completed and submitted to the Department by 30th June, 2003. These developments progressed extremely well, as well as ongoing consultations being held with the relevant water, gas and electricity utilities. The Minister for Community Services, the Hon. Candy Broad, came to Geelong and visited MACS where she oficially launched the SHIP project by “turning the sod” on Wednesday, 23rd July, 2003. The architects had all the technical documentation ready and called for tenders in September, 2003. Initially only three building irms expressed interest in the SHIP project. A few more irms were approached, and by October, 2003 ive building irms tendered for the project. The lowest tender was submitted by David Greig builders and the MACS Board in its November, 2003 meeting resolved to sign the building contract with David Greig. By now the Department was extremely worried as to the capacity of MACS completing the project by its set deadline, 30th June, 2004. Once the building contract (Practical Completion Date: 1st June, 2004) and related documentation were sent to the Department in January, 2004 its fears and concerns were allayed. Construction works for the SHIP units commenced on 19th January, 2004. By 25th March, 2004 units I, 2 and 3 were at a lock up stage, with units 4 and 5 getting to that point at the end of the month. By the end of the irst week in April, 2004 units 6, 7 and 8 were also at the lock up stage. By 28th June, 2004 the units were handed over to MACS by the builder in full and perfect completion. As construction work on the SHIP project front was nearing completion, Joy Leggo started to develop tenancy agreements for the units. She met with the Regional Ofice, Department of Human Services, in Geelong and discussed the pertinent tenancy details to ensure all departmental, statutory requirements were being met in the tenancy agreements developed by MACS. Joy Leggo then arranged to meet with staff of the GECC ofices. She briefed them on the SHIP units referral process, and also set up arrangements for support and welfare visits by GECC staff to the tenants of the units. The majority of tenant referrals came from MACS’ CACPs services, with a few having been made by GECC staff, as well. At the September, 2004 monthly meeting, the MACS Board decided to set the weekly

Newspaper coverage of the “turning of the sod”. Pictured are Multicultural Aged Care Services’ Chair George Ballas, Housing Minister Candy Broad and Multicultural Hostel CEO Joy Leggo with the hostel’s extension plans

rental for the independent living units at the level of 25% of tenants’ income (Social Security pension), and an additional $10 fortnightly maintenance charge. The following month, October 2004, the Ofice of Housing approached MACS and offered to provide $1.04 million to MACS for the construction of another eight units under the SHIP project by June 2005, as a provider in Melbourne initially allocated the funding, was not able to build. MACS then approached the City of Greater Geelong (COGG) with town planning permit enquiries. COGG responded by requiring a soil health analysis report in relation to Q-fever, as the units were to be too close to the saleyards across the MACS facility. By March, 2005 the Australian Rickettsian Reference Laboratory Foundation in Melbourne found no causative agents for Q-fever in its saleyards soil tests. By this time, though, the Ofice of Housing informed MACS that the funding was no longer earmarked for MACS. 7. GECC - MACS Merger/ Amalgamation Proposal The irst time ever the GECC-MACS merger consideration came up as an issue for discussion was at MACS’ 1999 Strategic Planning session. Following on from that, Jordan Mavros who, additionally to being a Board member of MACS, also held the position of CEO with the GECC, discussed the matter with Joy Leggo 57 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


on a number of occasions. Close, ongoing discussions of this nature relating to the merger issue, but more so to other professional issues and concerns about government policies and operational, programmatic matters, was taking place regularly. This was part of their ordinary course of discharging their duties and running their respective organisations. Around this time the political climate, both at the Federal and State government levels, favoured the existence of bigger sized, smaller number of entities, certainly within the community based, non-proit sector. Organisationally and operationally, this trend and distinct policy of merged, larger entities was making sense in terms of economies of scale and critical mass issues, enhanced streamlined operational routines, eficient programmatic planning, and effective service integration, resulting in better outcomes. It was also very much seen as a capacity to ‘ride out’ hard times and unexpected government policy changes, as well as being more likely or favoured to be successful with tender/ service provision proposals. At the MACS level, Joy Leggo mentioned the issue in her January, 2000 report, suggesting the Board members give the matter its due consideration, as it was worthwhile pursuing it. Jordan Mavros developed a concise merger proposal for the two entities in February 2000 which was irst presented to the GECC, and favourably received at the time. Joy Leggo also developed a corresponding discussion paper. Both papers were in favour of the proposed merger. Already, MACS had a few knockbacks with its attempt to be awarded any community packages for which it was applying. A united, robust entity with a strong organisational infra-structure could have a better chance of being successful. Joy Leggo and Jordan Mavros had a subsequent meeting with Harwood Andrews lawyers on 17th March, 2000. They wanted to go through the details of the proposed amalgamation with an expert in such matters, and then have the likely legal, statutory and/ or other possible impediment issues critically assessed. The advice received from Harwood Andrews was that, if the two entities were to merge, then the PBI (Public Benevolent Institution) status of MACS would quite likely be in jeopardy, as the GECC did not have one. The GECC could apply to the Australian taxation Ofice (ATO) for a private ruling to be granted PBI status, but this could be inancially an expensive undertaking. At the April, 2000 MACS monthly meeting the two CEOs were instructed to develop a detailed issues paper for the two Chairs of the organisations, Frank De Stefano and Srechko Kontelj, so that they would then approach the ATO for a private ruling. 58 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

By August, 2000 the matter was still being considered by the two CEOs. Around this time, it must be recalled, things were becoming quite serious with the ongoing deliberations regarding the nursing home beds transfer from the Grace McKellar Centre to MACS. The intensive work involved in the nursing home beds transfer arrangement, together with Frank De Stefano stepping down from the Chair and the Board of MACS, put the merger issue in abeyance for a while. At the same time, the GECC was pursuing the issue of obtaining a PBI and DGR (Deductible Gift Recipient) status with the relevant authorities, on its own initiative, for obvious inancial tax saving considerations. If successful, the GECC would then be able to offer attractive, advantageous remuneration packages to its employees. The GECC was undertaking heavy work in the areas of refugee settlement, non-clinical mental health services within the region’s migrant groups, together with provision of training and employment services to the most disadvantaged individuals, both within the migrant as well as the general community’s sectors. For all intents and purposes, the majority of GECC’s involvement and work in the community was well within the parameters of charity. After a formal application, the GECC in the end obtained its DGR and BPI status in January, 2003. With this occurrence, the merger proposal issue came back to the table again. MACS was now constructing its nursing home facility, with the SHIP project and the community aged care packages program coming on board, as well. On the other side of the fence, the GECC was considering the issue of adopting a new trading name, in line with the ongoing delivery of its multiplicity of services. In September, 2003 Jordan Mavros developed a detailed merger proposal for the consideration of the two Boards. The key consideration for the merger proposal was encapsulated in his opening statement of the paper: “The cardinal point and value judgment of this proposal is based upon the premise that the merger is the way forward so that enduring enhanced outcomes and better services can be accrued for the region’s plethora of culturally diverse, ethnic groups and their communities”. The Board decided to have the “merger” issue as a standing agenda item. Joy Leggo’s paper in April, 2004 considered the issue of the practicalities and processes involved in such a substantial undertaking. Amongst other suggestions, she recommended: (i) the establishment of a Merger Working Party comprising select Board and senior management representation from both organisations; (ii) the involvement of an independent consultant or expert to facilitate the merger discussions; (iii) setting speciic


merger discussion timeframes, and (iv) the Merger Working Party making a formal recommendation back to the respective Boards on the advisability, or otherwise, of the proposed merger. To facilitate this process, suficient funds were to be allocated in the MACS budget for the 2004/05 inancial year. In 2004, following the completion of its nursing home facility, MACS started taking in residents requiring high level care. On the SHIP project, things were on an overdrive mode as the deadline for the completion of the units was the end of June 2004. On the provision of home based services front, the community aged care packages awarded to MACS had started being implemented from July, 2003. Challenges were coming from just about everywhere as new staff had to be employed, learnings had to be acquired, routines bedded down and a sense of normalcy achieved for the sanity of everyone at MACS. Further, MACS was examining its own constitution and was trying to increase its board membership. It was felt at the time that MACS had to get its own house in order irst, before considering a merger issue. The merger issue, once again, had to be put in the backburner. When Jordan Mavros exited the workforce in October 2005, the merger proposal between the GECC and MACS was initely abandoned.

59 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


CHAPTER SEVEN

Establishment of community based aged care services 1. CACPS (Community Aged Care Packages), EACH (extended aged care at home) and EACH Dementia Three months on since MACS (GMH) took in its irst residents to the low care facility, Borrela House, the opportunity for applying to the federal government for the implementation of home based aged care, the community packages, came up in August, 1994. The closing date was the 2nd September 1994, with the government also offering an establishment grant of up to $50,000 for new providers. The organisation declined to apply. Sure enough, it could be seen as a chance for MACS to start developing and expanding its scope and range of aged care services. Yet, as the EO suggested, the time was not right and recklessness could not, and would not, be entertained by the Board. Simply, the organisation did not have adequate infra-structure in place: the organisational, operational, administrative and inancial capacity was not there yet. Undertaking such a risk, before its solid operational establishment, would expose MACS unnecessarily beyond recovery. The next time the community packages came up for the Board’s consideration was in February, 1998. Now, four years after its operation, the situation was better; but once again, MACS declined. While the willingness and preparedness were there, the magnitude of the task did not suit MACS’s circumstances: the government required that, organisations interested in applying, had to propose a minimum of forty community packages, before they would even be considered for assessment. MACS, in terms of organisational and resource capacity, could only undertake to implement about half of the minimum number of community packages stipulated by the government. So, after carefully assessing all relevant and applicable factors, it passed up the opportunity. In May, 1999 the Board resolved that MACS apply for the Community Aged Care Packages service either through Barwon Community Care or another consortium of partners. The irst time MACS applied for the CACPs service was in August, 2000. Joy Leggo, through her networks and links in the sector, was able to call upon existing CACPs providers who very generously provided their support and assistance in the development of MACS’ application. Its proposal was for a maximum of 30, minimum of 15 community packages. A number of capital expenditure items were also applied for (car, 60 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

computer equipment, ofice furniture and mobile phone). In February 2001, the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing informed MACS that its community packages application was unsuccessful. In April, 2001 Joy Leggo and Jordan Mavros, in a feedback session, met with departmental oficers. The key reasons offered for being unsuccessful were lack of enough speciic details on fee collection and policy issues. At the same time, MACS was encouraged to apply again for community packages through the general, as well as the ethno-speciic pools. In the next funding round when the Department called for applications in 2002, MACS again applied for the community packages service. This time the application was successful. The good news was received on 17th December, 2002. The Department made a provisional allocation of 25 community packages, within the Barwon South Western Region of Victoria, which MACS had to take up by 24th November, 2004. Together with the 25 community packages, capital funds to the amount of $46,708 were also provided. The municipalities-local government areas where the community packages service was to be implemented included the City of Greater Geelong, Surfcoast Shire, Borough of Queenscliff and Colac/ Otway Shire (catchment area). The speciic condition attached to the provisional allocation was that any care or service provided under the allocated community packages had to be exclusively for people from NESB (non-English Speaking Background) backgrounds. The relevant Agreement Deeds were completed, sealed and forwarded to the Department. MACS proposed the irst 10 packages to commence on 2nd May, 2003. By late January, 2003 Joy Leggo, in her concise CACPs allocation report presented to the Board, proposed the appointment of a Community Care Co-Ordinator, recommending the person to be a registered nurse, Division 1. She developed a position description and then wanted to advertise in “The Age” and “The Geelong Advertiser” newspapers. Approval was given for all the recommendations, so that she could proceed with the implementation of the new community packages service. Meanwhile, as related earlier in the book, Linda Rizzi, the Residential Services Co-ordinator, in February 2003, informed Joy Leggo of her intention to resign (May, 2003). In view of that


development, the position was not replaced. Instead, Joy Leggo now proposed the appointment of a Director of Care, who would have responsibilities in the areas of residential, as well as community services. Thus, upon Bernie Melican being appointed Director of Care on 12th May 2003, and overseeing the implementation of the community packages service, Debbie Elzahbi and Karin Bauer, existing staff of MACS, registered nurses, Division 2, took on the role of Care Managers. Under the circumstances, MACS applied to the Department of Health and Ageing to change the commencement date of the community packages service from 2nd May to 9th June, 2003. The extension request was agreed to and granted by the Department. The extension was important at the time as it enabled the Director of Care to have some time, irstly, to settle in and develop a service implementation framework for the community packages; and secondly, to establish contact and a working relationship with the region’s migrant groups, as well as relevant organisations in the aged care sector. By the end of June, the irst month of operation of the community packages’ service, six clients were receiving care. Within three months, all 25 packages having been taken up, the community packages program was full (see the report by the CEO and DOC, Select Documents section). Not only were the community packages taken up relatively quickly, they were also reasonably proitable as MACS was able to utilise its own internal resources, covering most effectively the language and cultural relevance considerations, as well. Engaging outside carers to provide the service would incur considerably higher costs for the organisation. With the experience of the service on hand, and the enthusiasm and commitment of staff, MACS went for the current, at the time, funding round and applied for more packages, 15 maximum 5 minimum (15/5) for the Borough of Queenscliff and 30/10 for Warrnambool, in August, 2003. In January, 2004, MACS was notiied by the Department that its application was unsuccessful. In September 2004, 25 CACPs and 15 EACH (extended care at home) packages were applied for by MACS. In that funding round, MACS did not get everything it had applied for, yet there was some success. In February, 2005 the Department approved the allocation of 5 EACH packages, which were taken up by July, 2005. Again in the 2005 funding round, MACS applied for 15 EACH Dementia packages and was awarded 5 of those in February, 2006. Following that pattern, every year a packages funding round was advertised by the Department MACS kept applying. On 27th September, 2007 MACS was notiied of being successful with 5 EACH Dementia packages and 10 CACPs packages. Then, on the 2009/10 funding round, MACS was

awarded 10 EACH and 5 CACPs packages. In 2011, a further 12 CDC (consumer directed care) packages were allocated to MACS, of which 6 were attached to CACPs packages, 4 to EACH packages and 2 to EACH Dementia packages. In its last allocation in February 2012, MACS was awarded 5 CACPs packages. With the CDC program, the Department developed a new policy under which funding was tagged to the individual consumer of the package, who had control of when, where and what type of care was to be provided to him/ her, along with the consumer’s power to change service provider. Further to the provision of care as such, the consumer could request expenditure of funds on items enhancing quality of life: purchase of TV or paying for day trips for example. Throughout this process, MACS was able to successfully build up and operate 82 packages by 2013: 51 CACPs (level 2), including 6 CDCs; 19 EACH (level 4), including 4 CDCs, and 12 EACH Dementia (level 4), including 2 CDCs (the low-high level classiication corresponding to the level of care required by clients, with level 1 being the lowest for HACC services recipients). Throughout the operation of its entire community packages program, MACS has had only one consumer changing to another provider. In 2006, a Bosnian background client requested to move to another provider, ‘Best of Care’, in order to access more hours of service than what the package allowed for. Within two years, the client approached MACS and requested to be re-admitted back to its community packages program. This did not eventuate, as no vacancy existed in the community packages program, with all packages being taken up at the time. MACS’ irst assessment and achievement of CACPS service accreditation was in August 2005, with level 1 (highest level) accreditation for a period of three years. In 2013 being an election year, complex, untenable political developments occurred at the leadership level with the Labor Party. No funding round was advertised by the Federal Government in the aged care sector. With the October, 2013 elections, there was a change of government; Labor lost and the Coalition now assumed power at the federal level. The Coalition government instigated major, drastic changes in the area of aged care, effective as from July, 2014. A funding round for 2014/15 was announced for residential and community services allocations, with the closing date for submissions being 4th July, 2014. MACS this time submitted a proposal for 94 packages in the Barwon South Western Region, and for 140 packages in the Wyndam - Werribee region, at levels 2, 3 and 4. Werribee has a strong CALD population, with post-World War II migrants developing the area into what is now known as Melbourne’s great fresh 61 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


vegetable produce bowl. MACS sees this proposal as an excellent opportunity from a business, inancial perspective to cement the ‘critical mass’ consideration. If successful, the organisation will further consolidate its presence in the area of community based services. Overall, it will strengthen its professionalism; it will maximise and enhance even more the breadth, width and depth of attitudinal, cultural and language expertise of MACS, which could rightfully stake its reputation as being a ine aged care service provider in the entire region.

62 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


CHAPTER EIGHT

Establishment of a business arm service 1. The challenge of inancial viability and prosperity; sector opportunities Robust iscal health and inancial viability have been a rather touchy issue for MACS. And understandably so, for this issue troubled and worried the organisation from the word go. Before it was even established, substantial sums had to be raised at the time, as the parent organisation, the GECC, had no reserves of its own at all. Loans had to be sought from the banks for every residential service development undertaken. This, together with constant policy formulation rehashing, changes to funding arrangements and formulae in the aged care sector at the federal level, left no room for risk taking. Simply, operational or inancial management errors could not be afforded at all. The margins were just too tight and the organisation could not afford to drop its guard down at any stage. Conscious of the vulnerability and risk involved in relying almost entirely and exclusively on government funding, the MACS Board and management began to explore alternative options. Financial strength and prosperity could be achieved through business ventures that met speciic community aged care needs, while at the same time offering reasonable inancial returns. Then, from that position of strength and independence from relying on government funding, innovative, complementary services and programs could be planned for and implemented. Barely a year from commencement in operating the high care facility, Mary Costa House, in considering the inancial viability and prosperity challenge fairly broadly, the MACS Board looked at the SRS (Supported Residential Services) issue, for the irst time, in June 2005. The matter came up formally and oficially at the November, 2005 Strategic Planning day. Once inalised and adopted by the Board, the 2006/2009 Strategic Plan contained the following two action plans, relevant to existing, unmet needs and business opportunities: • Alternative Accommodation: Gap analysis of available accommodation support services. Explore service options, e.g. home based care, independent living units, supported residential services, respite care and dementia speciic accommodation.

• Business unit Diversiication: Review experience of other organisations that in the long term reduce our total reliance on government funding17 Both action plans provided the impetus for the Board to pursue its goal of inancial viability, strength and independence. Overall, it made sense and was seen as an integrally important part of its aged care services continuum. MACS had already moved to provide services in the home based care (community packages) and independent living units (SHIP Project) areas. The site Master Plan, re-developed by the architects in December, 2005, incorporated details for SRS and dementia speciic facilities. In June, 2006 MACS submitted a funding application to the Federal Department of Health and Aging for community packages (EACH and CACPs), as well as the establishment of a 20 bed dementia speciic facility, respite beds, administration and chapel buildings, together with modiications to low care facility, Borrela House. As part of that funding proposal, MACS obtained a QS report. The QS report also included costings for a 60 bed SRS facility, with the indicative estimated construction costs coming to the amount of $6,617,000. MACS now had an idea of the scope of costs involved in setting up an SRS facility. In January, 2007 MACS was informed by the Department of Health and Aging that its funding application to the Department was unsuccessful. So, following the outcome of the 2006 funding round, in which MACS failed to receive any allocations it had applied for, in pursuance of the Strategic Plan, alternative options had to be considered. In February, 2007 Joy Leggo, MACS’ CEO, presented a concise discussion paper on the SRS issue. The demographics, together with the dispersal of SRS in the Geelong area at the time, made a strong case for it. No SRS facility was located in the northern suburbs of Geelong, the area with the highest concentration of residents of migrant backgrounds (CALD, culturally and linguistically diverse), and certainly none existed in the entire Barwon South Western Region with a multicultural focus. Joy Leggo had an initial meeting with oficers from the Regional Ofice, Department of Human Services (DHS), to gauge their reaction to a MACS proposal for the establishment of an SRS facility. This move 63 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


and approach was necessary as SRSs come under the jurisdiction and regulatory regime of the State Government. The reaction from the DHS Regional Ofice was strongly favourable, as was that from COGG in relation to enquiries made on planning and parking space issues. Thus, Joy Leggo recommended that ‘MACS actively move towards the establishment of a 60 bed SRS on our site’18. At the next Board meeting, March 2007, Board Directors discussed the SRS issue extensively. In agreeing in principle with the concept, they felt the SRS project was worthy of being taken to the next stage of a feasibility study. To that effect, the Board resolved to engage Dr. Brenda Harrison from Minerva Consultants to undertake the feasibility study. Brenda Harrison at the time was in charge of quality assurance, as well as MACS’ educator, with overall responsibility in the area of in-service training and professional development for the entire workforce of MACS. Well-credentialed, she had extensive experience and expertise in the aged care and health related areas, as well as irst class, consolidated research skills. In April, 2007 the consultant completed the SRS feasibility study with a strong recommendation for its implementation. In addition to there being no existing SRS facilities in the northern suburbs, MACS could make maximum utilisation of its human resources at the site, including registered nurses for emergency situations, together with synergies and economies of scale to be had within the entire suite of its services. MACS was well-connected with the region’s migrant groups and the GECC, had a sizeable group of volunteers, and altogether was well positioned to undertake the establishment and successful operation of an SRS facility. The feasibility study proposed that future SRS residents were to be CALD born overseas, CALD born here, and residents from the general community. Around the same time, MACS’ Director of Care, Alwin Gallina, was a partner in a private SRS venture in Daylesford, a country town close to Castlemaine, in Victoria. The builder constructing the facility there, Des Rix from Ballarat, was highly recommended, both for his overall quality of work, craftsmanship and reliability, as well as his highly competitive fee structure. The Directors kept asking questions constantly, requesting a range of inancial modelling scenarios and ‘What If’ discussion papers. They had to be reassured, and as the risk was considerable, clarifying their concerns and having a full understanding of operational matters was of critical importance. As SRS facilities are not attracting any government funding, their income is generated by a fee structure set by the proprietors and run as a private business: income is derived from rental only, or a combination of non-refundable ingoing 64 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

charges (bonds) and weekly rental. Once again, the Board bit the bullet and in its Extraordinary Meeting of 6th June, 2007 resolved to approve ‘the development of a 60 bed Supported Residential Service as per the proposal presented on its current site, and that DRAR Constructions Pty. Ltd. (Des Rix) be appointed to undertake the design and construction of the facility’. This being a business, private development, it did not have to meet the usual mandatory requirements of a public tender and associated government conditions. As from June, 2007 the SRS project was now a Standing Agenda item on MACS’ Board meetings. 2. Supported Residential Services - Establishment of Bella Chara facility Once the above SRS resolution was taken by the MACS Board, senior management of MACS hit the ground running. Discussions with Westpac, MACS’ banker, on the issue of inancing the SRS project entailed the engagement of a specialist to undertake a valuation of the entire MACS site on a “going concern basis”, as well as the development and submission of a ‘Business Plan’. The Board reviewed and provided its input to the Business Plan. It further concurred with management’s position to approach additional inancial institutions, seeking the best possible inancial deal for the project. A Meeting held with COGG (City of Greater Geelong) on time frames for planning permits, car parking facilities (provision by COGG of land adjacent to the north side of the MACS site) and the Q-Fever issues went quite well, with no concerns of any nature being identiied. The project architect also had an initial meeting with COGG and Barwon Water. By late June, 2007 David Trease, the building irm’s ‘in-house’ architect, developed the initial concept plan, a double storey 60 bed facility containing 8 larger rooms, for viewing and comments by the Board Directors. In July, 2007 Westpac’s valuer visited the site and undertook a detailed inspection. Further meetings with COGG’s Planning Department in September, 2007 again indicated that there were no issues of concern with the construction of the SRS facility. Accordingly, COGG proceeded to place ‘notices of intention to build’ on the site. The architectural detailed drawing plans were further adjusted and submitted to GOCC for the town planning permit application. As part of its due diligence and prudent approach, MACS wanted to ensure that the SRS facility also complied with the Federal Government’s high care regulations, just in case the SRS model would not work and then it could be turned into a high care facility . The Board by now was encouraged to begin thinking about a name for its SRS facility: a waiting list started to develop with four potential clients (two married couples) already having registered their interest.


Come the end of October, 2007 the planning permit was issued by COGG. Work also commenced on the Approval-in-Principle application to the Department of Human Services (DHS) for MACS to run an SRS service. The staff of MACS suggested a list of potential names for the SRS facility, with the air of excitement now clearly permeating everyone within the MACS family. On 29th November, 2007 Directors visited the Daylesford SRS facility to get a irst-hand idea of what was to take place with its own SRS project. Before the visit to Daylesford, a stumbling block appeared. The Bank’s valuation that came through in late September 2007, of the entire MACS operations, outlined strong reservations in relation to the SRS project’s inancial viability. The valuer, from NSW, had no understanding of how SRSs work, as they are a concept of care established and operated in the State of Victoria only. The valuer totally ignored MACS’ proposed funding model and based the valuation on a low care facility with similar bond retention amounts. Relying on that modelling, Westpac - having not had a single client running an SRS service - considered the project nonviable, high risk and as a consequence indicated its unlikelihood to fund the project. The Chairman and Deputy Chairman of MACS at the time, Grazia Shrimpton and Jordan Mavros, met with senior management of MACS and discussed the valuation report in detail. The decision taken was to approach the Commonwealth Bank and the Bendigo Bank to gauge their interest in the SRS project. The Commonwealth Bank, once it assessed MACS’ documentation, responded by providing a letter of offer. Its review of MACS’ SRS inancial modelling raised no concerns, and further, the bank presented an overview of its banking conditions and account types, should MACS decide to change banks. Another unexpected good by-product was the fact that, in discussions with Westpac regarding the “breaking” of the existing ixed term loan (loan in relation to the construction of the Mary Costa facility) eventuating upon changing banks, MACS would actually make savings in the vicinity of $15,000 to $ 20,000. The estimated bank fees for the early termination of the loan were likely to be around $200 to $300 only. In its 11th December, 2007 meeting the Board resolved for MACS to proceed with obtaining the loan funds from the Commonwealth Bank, with $3,500,000 being on a ixed interest rate for four years and the remainder $2,250,000 being left on a variable rate. With funds being secured, the Building Contract was executed on 29th January, 2008 for the amount of $5,775,000 and Practical Completion Date the 28th February, 2009 which was extended to 13th April, 2009 due to changes and additional works requested by MACS. With respect to the names of the facility,

in addition to the list already submitted by staff, the following names were added: North House, Weddell House, Casa Bella (Beautiful House), Davante House (House in Front), Arcadia House. Some thinking also started to go into developing promotional materials and a marketing strategy for the project. By February, 2008 DHS advised MACS that, for the time being, no further information was required in relation to granting the AIP for the SRS facility. The inal stamped plans of the project were provided to the Department at the end of March, 2008. Meanwhile, COGG issued its building permit and the builder commenced the preliminary site preparations on Monday, 31st March, 2008. In April, the SRS project had its name before it was even constructed: Bella Chara. The Board, after reviewing the shortlisted names, went with the Aboriginal word “Karinya” (place of rest), subject to being approved by the local Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative. Failing that, the name was to be “Bella Chara”. When Wathaurong was consulted, they advised the word was not part of the local language, and respecting the local culture and custom, it could not be used. Thus, Bella Chara (Chara, anglicised version of the Greek word XapáHara, Chara), Beautiful Joy, came to be, a reference to the CEO of MACS, Joy Leggo. While not publically announced to staff, Debbie Elzahbi, one of MACS’ Community Care Managers at the time, was informed by Joy Leggo that she would be the Manager for Bella Chara. Debbie Elzahbi already started getting involved with the project, including the furnishings, equipment and colour schemes and coordination aspects. With earth works having started, the irst Project Control Group meeting, comprising Slobodan Mirkovic, Director; Joy Leggo, CEO; Alwin Gallina, DOC (Director of Care) and Des Rix, the builder, was held on 15th May, 2008. The Approval-in-Principle was issued on 3rd June, 2008 by DHS, with work on a marketing plan and promotional materials for the Bella Chara facility well under way. By the end of May, the Waiting/ Expression of Interest list grew to 12. The concrete slabs were poured and completed by July, 2008 while substantial work had been completed on both, the north and south, wings of the Bella Chara facility. The estimated date of Practical Completion having been set for 13th April, 2009, it was anticipated for the acceptance of irst residents into the facility to start from the beginning of June, 2009. Brick works commenced in August, 2008 and timber framework and trusses for the upper level were to be erected next. Everything progressed well and was on schedule, with no time lost to that point. By September, 2008 major building works on the project were completed. Work continued on the roof, with the colourbond installed in November, 2008. 65 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


Internally, modiications and adjustments were taking place regularly, following suggestions of the MACS’ senior management. In October, 2008 Joy Leggo, Alwin Gallina and Chris Hudgell, MACS’ Business Manager, met with an independent inancial advisor, specialising in aged care issues, to review Bella Chara’s pricing strategy and then consider the interface of charges between Bella Chara and residents from there moving into MACS’ low or high care services, Borrela House and Mary Costa House respectively. Thorough knowledge and understanding of pension eligibility criteria, deeming issues and asset cut-off levels were of critical importance in ensuring that MACS maximised its revenue, while at the same time maintaining certain entitlements for the residents. The Executive and senior management of MACS also developed a pre-operation plan with speciic time schedules, to ensure everything was taken care of, and in place, by the time resident intake commenced. In December, 2008 the Bella Chara sign went up, and advertising, promotional features appeared in the Geelong Business News, which were also repeated in January, 2009. The website went online in December, as well, and information kits and assorted stationery inalised. With the construction side of things, all rooing was complete, plastering works commenced and most of the electrical, plumbing, data and ire services works were also completed. The Directors visited the building site and were extremely pleased with progress to date. By January, 2009 the registration process with the Department of Human services commenced. The following month, February, 2009 Debbie Elzahbi started full time in her position of Bella Chara Manager. Joy Leggo, Alwin Gallina and Debbie Elzahbi commenced interviewing prospective residents. Resident occupancy agreements were inalised, with input and clearance from MACS’ solicitors, in March 2009. The registration papers were submitted to the Department in early April, 2009. On 7th May, 2009 DHS requested additional information and relevant certiicates, i.e. Certiicate of Occupancy, Certiicate of Compliance and the Approval-in-Principle. Contracts for two rooms were signed by April, with approximately 10 people being interviewed weekly. The staff recruitment process also commenced, with advertisements being placed with the local print media (Geelong Advertiser and the Geelong News). Deposits for ive rooms were received in May, 2009 with interviews and contract signing also progressing well. Due to a number of circumstances - including the storm water and ire sprinkler adjustments; MACS’ request for 9C compliance (federal Department of Health and Aging requirement for high care compliance), and changes requested for premium rooms, dance loor 66 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

and hand rails on the veranda - the Bella Chara facility building works did not inish by the anticipated date. Similarly, the opening of the facility did not occur in the beginning of June, 2009 but a month later. The inal building costs also escalated out to $6,297,226 from the original $5,755,000, again mainly because of the above mentioned changes. With the registration approval having being signed off by the Department of Human Services on 2nd July 2009, the irst three permanent residents and one respite resident were admitted on the 8th July, 2009. By the end of July, Bella Chara had twenty permanent residents, twelve already admitted and the other eight coming in within the following month. 6 of the 8 single large rooms had already been sold, as well as 3 of the 4 double rooms. 3. Operation of Bella Chara facility As mentioned earlier, Debbie Elzahbi was appointed Manager of Bella Chara in February, 2009. In July, 2009 10 new staff were appointed, including a registered nurse and personal care workers. As with most residential care facilities, food became a main item of discussion. The Bella Chara residents in their irst meeting in August, 2009 decided to establish a “tasting Committee” to work with the cooks. A hairdresser started coming in once a week, while a MACS volunteer was preparing to work with the gentlemen at Bella Chara, doing some woodwork with them. Promotion and marketing of the facility was extensively undertaken during October and November, 2009 through the local print media, The Geelong Advertiser, The Independent, Geelong News and the Echo. Also, an arrangement was made with the community radio station, the Pulse, for 30 seconds advertisements over a period of 12 months, including announcements in the following community languages: Bosnian, Croatian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Russian and Serbian. In October, 2009 all directors of MACS attended an in-service seminar run by the Department of Human Services. On 4th December, 2009 the Department of Human services visited Bella Chara and undertook a Care Audit. The Audit Oficer spent the day talking to the residents, checking out the documentation and the food. It was most pleasing for MACS when its CEO, Joy Leggo, received strong, positive feedback from the Oficer, about the facility and the happy, caring and comfortable environment the Bella Chara facility provided to all its residents. By the end of December 2009, 27 Bella Chara contracts were signed, with 21 residents already being admitted. Social Workers from the Geelong Hospital and representatives from the local Ofice of the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) visited Bella Chara, together with four additional facilities. DVA verbally informed


MACS that, from the ive facilities visited on the day, Bella Chara was Number 1 on their list for referrals. Most importantly, though, the residents themselves, together with their family members, relatives and friends, were the best ambassadors for Bella Chara. Word of mouth became very effective, and as a result, signing of contracts and admissions continued to increase steadily. As the number of residents admitted to Bella Chara increased, more employees were gradually engaged to provide the required care to the residents. Gwen Mackie, an existing employee of MACS, was appointed as the Deputy to Debbie Elzahbi, to act as the Bella Chara Manager in her absence. It was not long before that staff at Bella Chara started to settle in quite well, with a strong sense of belonging and distinct identity developing. If anything at all, both the Executive and the Board were keen to ensure that, like the Borrela and Mary Costa facilities, a sense of fragmentation and segmentation did not develop, leading to its eventual entrenchment. Each residential part - Borrela House, Mary Costa House and Bella Chara - looked after residents with different levels of need and care requirements. Each presented its own challenges and rewards, and altogether each facility had their dedicated staff, with a special bond, camaraderie developing within each facility was but an unavoidable reality. The difference now was that, with the experience of the past, lessons were well learned from the low care - high care facilities’ staff conlicts and the attitudinal challenges presented therein. A conscious effort was made by Joy Leggo and her team driving the point strongly, fairly and irmly that MACS, irrespective of its streams and levels of service, was one entity. Its quality of care and the culture of caring had to be one and the same, right across the organisation, including the home based services out in the community. That value principle could not be diluted or compromised in any way, shape or form. With this approach, attitude and application, the message was fully understood, directed to and accepted by everyone smoothly. The current process of programmatic service review and operational restructure, which started in late 2013, is further reinforcing the position of total integration of MACS’ operations with a strengthened, united and uniied culture. Already, this programmatic service review and operational restructure has been completed with the food services, lifestyle programs and personal care streams of MACS’ suite of services, with new rosters having commenced from 14th July, 2014. The process will continue with the remainder of services and is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

management team, right from the early days of resident admissions, was the issue of the facility’s inancial performance. Were the different modelling scenarios to work out as expected, was anything at all to turn out as planned, so that the budget predictions could be achieved? What if the annual occupancy turn-over was not occurring at least at the lowest break-even number? In one way or another, the monthly inancial results started coming in fairly positively. All inancial performance indicators were consistently met, and a steady surplus was regularly accumulated on a monthly basis. With the facility increasing its occupancy levels, the proits now were considerable. Although full occupancy of the facility was dificult to sustain over an extended period of time, the income generated from Bella Chara’s operation started to pay off the bank loan. The model of running the SRS facility as a business arm of MACS, in order to improve and strengthen its overall inancial viability, and altogether commencing the process of making it independent of government dependency, was being entirely realised. Now, another key part of MACS’ Strategic Plan was coming to fruition. Within four years of its operation, Bella Chara retired the full bank loan of $5,750,000. The relief and pride with everyone at MACS, considering the fact that they had been able to pay off the facility’s bank loan and be debt free in four years’ time was, once again, profound. The calculated business and service risks undertaken with the SRS project paid off, providing a steady, reliable source of income for the organisation. With Debbie Elzahbi deciding to move to another part of MACS’ service continuum, her Deputy Gwen Mackie, took over as Manager from February 2013. The high standards of service and care established by Debbie Elzahbi now continued and were further enhanced with the new Manager. The vibrancy, comfort and happy ambience of the Bella Chara environment are strongly and visibly felt as soon as one enters the facility. The jewel in the crown for MACS, Bella Chara is a prime example of ine living for elderly members of the community who enjoy the choice of independence, security, and provision of minimum level of care service.

Of course, the burning question on everyone’s lips, the Board Directors, the Executive and the senior 67 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


CHAPTER NINE

Full integration of MACS’ multicultural aged care services - Major buildings and services re-development Residential service, building redevelopment 1. Federal government approval for 30 new beds; ZRIL loan; Purchase of additional land from COGG The Bella Chara facility had scarcely come to its completion when the MACS Board and its senior management started to seriously consider the issue of establishing a dementia speciic service. While a number of residents with mild, non-wandering and nonaggressive conditions of dementia lived in its facilities, MACS was not and could not guarantee a dementia secure environment. It lew in the face of MACS’ committed value of providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services to its residents, when it had to face the reality of having to transfer dementia affected residents to other aged care facilities, because it could not provide a safe, secure environment. As MACS was now in operation for some ifteen years, the situation had already occurred that residents, initially admitted with full cognitive functioning, started to develop dementia while in the care of MACS. It was breaking the hearts of the relatives and the affected residents having to tell them “it’s been great up to this stage looking after Mary, Bill, Natasha, but now it’s time to go to another aged care, dementia speciic facility”. The painful question troubling all concerned Board, management, staff, residents and their relatives - was cruelly confronting and rightly so: why do this, what sense could one possibly make of a situation of wonderful care being provided up to that point, and now where the need was greater with a higher level of complexity and dependency, no option was available but a transfer? Board and management were under no illusion that businesswise, strictly inancially speaking, dementia speciic care was extremely complex and resource intensive; the margins were tight and no savings or proits could be had by operating a dementia service. Yet, for MACS to stay true to its mission, the bullet had to, once again, be bitten. For the entire Barwon-South Western Region, from Geelong to the South Australian border, not a single culturally and linguistically appropriate dementia speciic aged care service existed or operated. 68 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

Provision of dementia speciic services was now a clearly identiied gap in MACS’ care continuum. Chairman, Jordan Mavros, a strong advocate and proponent of the service, together with CEO, Joy Leggo, professionally and passionately committed to it, articulated vividly and persuasively the rationale for the service. Thus, the development of the full planning process for dementia speciic residential care at MACS, having being identiied and accepted by the Directors of MACS as the top priority for 2009/10, was now formally one of the CEO’s annual KPIs (key performance indicators). This then, establishing the dementia service, provided the impetus for MACS’ current buildings and services redevelopment: construction of the new 30 beds, ZRIL loan, additional purchase of land from COGG, the new dementia speciic service re-conigured within Borrela House, together with the overall re-development design inclusive of the Chapel, Piazza, Clock Tower, garden and the car parking. In August, 2009 Joy Leggo and MACS’ Director of Care, Alwin Gallina, met with Des Rix, owner of DRAR constructions, the irm which built Bella Chara, together with David Trease, the builder’s ‘in-house’ architect, for a preliminary discussion. Two initial concept designs incorporating 30 new beds were produced which took the available space at the MACS site to its absolute stretch. As the two most senior Executive staff of MACS, Joy Leggo and Alwin Gallina, began to research relevant literature, as well as visiting existing dementia services, it became apparent that a dementia facility with more than 15 to 20 residents in it would be counterproductive to their well-being and detracting from their quality of life. Simply, it was not going to be an issue of just plotting 30 beds on the site and be done with. Consideration of the matter of the optimal number of beds, ample open space, appropriately qualiied and experienced staff, together with the physical and professional service linkage - this organic integration of the dementia service to the rest of the MACS facilities - required the expertise and involvement of a specialist in the area. Such involvement of a specialist expert, actually, ended up having an additional bonus: for it was about time,


and quite opportune that an outside, third party looked in, made an assessment and impartial judgement as to the overall operation of MACS. Following a relevant referral from DRAR Constructions, and an initial consultation, Joy Leggo had with James Grealy from DEC (Dementia Excellence Care); DEC was appointed in September, 2009 to undertake a full review of the existing residential services mix provided at MACS. The purpose and ultimate value of the review was to ensure that, whatever developments took place in relation to the proposed dementia service, optimal and sustainable outcomes would be had for MACS in the years ahead. With a inite, land-locked area, MACS had to get this major and inal development right; second guessing or getting into messy, constant structural changes and modiications could not be entertained inancially, business or service-wise. DEC’s two days of on-site observations of the overall worklows and operations at MACS highlighted the strengths, as well as some of the challenges and opportunities that had to be taken up and fully maximized. The strong, warm, caring, family culture of MACS could be further enhanced and optimised with some practice adjustments: a person centred care, deliberately applied and practised in all aspects of the service, i.e. daily routines of meals; personal, clinical care; recreational activities and administrative tasks. All of them could be re-focused, to the extent possible, around the wishes, preferences and likes of the residents themselves. This approach entailed re-arrangement of the work shifts and standardised rosters, as well as a fresh mindset. On the buildingsfacilities front, some of the areas were not adequately utilised. For example, while the kitchen had excellent technical equipment, there were substantial ineficiencies, producing food nowhere near what was possible, both quantity and quality wise. This, together with the person centred care approach could have substantial impact on the state of being and quality of life for the residents. James Grealy proposed that, given the nature of MACS (multicultural, multi-ethnic focus), creating a sense of a village, community experience, with a substantial piazza-type entry to the facility would be ideal, relevant to the experiences and communal living conditions in the countries of origin for most of the MACS residents. Further, it was felt that the dementia speciic service could be better re-conigured from within the existing Borrela House facility. The community centre/ chapel building, a matter considered in previous deliberations, could also be incorporated in the proposed development. Relocation of the administration services, and with some minor capital works, the physical space could be dynamically and pleasantly re-invigorated.

The other positive development was that the Federal Department of Health and Aging (DOHA), under its ‘New Directions for Older Australians’ policy was providing funding - on a low, CPI interest loan basis - to interested providers to build or expand residential aged care and respite facilities in areas of high need under its ZRIL loans program. The ZRIL (zero real interest loan) loan repayment was to span over a 12 year period, with the irst two years only the CPI of the loan drawn down, being re-payable by the provider. For each of the remaining 10 years, the provider would re-pay 10% of the principle, plus the accrued CPI interest. Under the circumstances, Joy Leggo recommended that MACS put a ZRIL proposal to DOHA. By now Joy Leggo, together with her Executive team and the Board, began to visualise the exciting potential contained within the dementia service building development, incorporating 30 new units, dementia service re-coniguration within the existing low care facility, together with the chapel, piazza and administration building works. The need at this stage for every possible inch of extra land could not be greater, and by August 2009, Joy Leggo entered into discussions with the City of Greater Geelong (COGG). This was needed to fully explore and inalise the matter of additional Council land adjacent to MACS’ facilities that could be donated or purchased, as well as the statutory re-zoning, planning and building permits documentation required in view of the proposed development. Following enquiries with COGG, it became clear from the very beginning that the parcel of land to the north side of MACS was lood prone and could not be utilised for building works under any circumstances. MACS was only allowed to develop a small parcel of land into a car park facility. The existing car park in front of Mary Costa House and Borrela House then had to be considered for the 30 bed development, with a possible purchase of a strip of land from GOGG situated to the south of MACS. On 24th September, 2009 COGG responded positively providing an outline of the possible timeframe, containing a staged process from January 2010 to December 2011 (see Select Documents section). The proposal submitted to DOHA in March 2010, driven on an ongoing basis by Joy Leggo and Alwin Gallina, with the assistance of James Grealy, was for 30 low care beds, extension and new capital works, as well as community packages. The 30 beds and capital works proposal requested the amount of $5,700,000 under the ZRIL program. DRAR Constructions and Artas Architects (business partners James Grealy was associated with) were asked to put their costing bids for the total project development. The bids came in with 69 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


a minor difference ($60,000) between them. Joy Leggo recommended that DRAR Constructions be engaged as project managers. This recommendation was made particularly because of MACS’ past experience with work undertaken, DRAR’s track record, the total absence of industrial disputations because of its nonunionised workforce, and the fact that James Grealy was prepared to provide consultancy work and advice even if DRAR were appointed to complete the project. On May 20th 2010, the Board resolved that ‘DRAR Constructions be appointed to complete preconstruction drawings, including preliminary cost estimates at a cost of $435,000 with the understanding that all documentation, plans and drawings were owned by MACS’19. Joy Leggo and Alwin Gallina were preparing regular monthly reports for the Board, with respective time frames and stages of the project, on behalf of the MIBAG (MACS Innovative Building Action Group) group, which comprised the following additional members: Des Rix, David Trease and James Grealy. The irst MIBAG report was presented in May, with the last one being the October, 2010 report. Unfortunately for MACS, though, its 2010 DOHA application was unsuccessful. The following year, on its Annual Board Planning meeting, 11th February 2011, MACS resolved that Joy Leggo and Alwin Gallina complete the 2011 ACAR (Aged Care Approvals Round) submission without engaging outside consultants. On 1st August, 2010 the funding proposal was submitted for 30 beds (10 low and 20 high care places), together with a maximum of 20 and minimum of 5 Community Aged Care Packages. This time MACS got the present it was waiting for: Minister Mark Butler’s letter, dated 28th December, 2011 informed MACS of its successful ACAR submission. Approval was granted for 20 high and 10 low care beds, together with 5 community packages. The ZRIL loan amount approved was for $4,869,000. Upon receipt of the good news, work now for the entire project went into overdrive mode. The bank was approached and fully agreed to provide inance for the re-development, given that the bank (CBA) was particularly impressed by MACS’ business performance over the past three years. To that effect, the bank in February, 2012 extended a line of credit to the project ($3,500,000) over a period of ive years (until 1st December, 2017). COGG set in motion all the required processes for the rezoning, planning and building permits, which came through at the end of October, 2011. MACS next engaged Prowse Quantity Surveyors as its QS irm. Then DRAR Constructions, following its proposal, was commissioned to construct and complete the project. The Building Contract was signed on 1st May 2012, with the Practical Completion

date being set for 15th May, 2015. The costs of the entire project came to the sum of $9,125,375. Alwin Gallina was formally nominated as the Proprietor’s Project Manager, while the whole project comprised 4 different stages, with each stage having its own Practical Completion date. Together with these building and service re-developments, MACS also set another strategic goal, the development of the MACS Model of Care, along the lines of the person centred care approach (March to December, 2012 timeframe). 2. Overall redevelopment design: construction of the 30 new beds, Chapel, Piazza, Clock Tower, garden, parking With the overall redevelopment design completed (30 beds, Chapel, Piazza, relocation of administration, garden and car park details adjusted and inalised, with the addition now in August 2012 of a Clock Tower approved by the Board), regular monthly reports started being presented from March 2012 to the Board. These reports were presented by Joy Leggo on behalf of the MACS Re-development Project Teams, made up from internal, senior staff members. The reports outlined the respective timelines, work progress achieved and any issues that needed to be brought to the Board for its consideration, as well as the overall inancial monitoring of the project. By the end of March 2012, all paperwork was completed for DOHA, with the Loan Agreement in MACS’ possession, waiting to be signed. Once signed, MACS would have to repay the loan in 22 years, starting twelve months after the completion of building works. The Building Contract with DRAR Constructions was executed on 1st May, 2012. The ZRIL deed agreement was also signed on the same day and forwarded to DOHA. By now, the staff of MACS came up with a formal name for the overall project: MACS GEMS (Growth, Excellence, Meeting Needs, Staff) Redevelopment. By June, 2012 the DRAR

MACS’ Artist in Residence, Frank McMahon sketches of the Piazza 70 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


Constructions moved on site and started work on the project’s Stage 1(new car park, redevelopment of the four bed pod extension to the north of Mary Costa, new staff room and laundry area redevelopment). Also, the irst ZRIL instalment for $1.215 million was received from DOHA. In July, 2012 students and a dementia speciic experienced senior lecturer from the Faculty of Architecture, Deakin University, were approached for their possible input into the design of MACS’ dementia wing. By February, 2013 work commenced on Stage 2 (Borrela House Dining and Lounge area redevelopments), while it was resolved that MACS’ dementia speciic service would be a 14 bed wing, reconigured from within the existing Borrela House beds whose residents would be transferred to the new 30 bed development. In May, 2013 the four bed pod was completed and ready for resident accommodation, as was the new car park. Another exciting development now taking place was the construction of the Chapel, with the concrete slab being completed and timber framework commencing. The existing staff room and Director of Care’s ofice were being demolished, making room for the Chapel and the new administration section. The planning permits for Stage 3 (30 new bed development, Jordan Wing) from COGG were in place, while earth works commenced in August, 2013. The inal architectural design review for this development, inclusive of the Piazza, had a substantial input from MACS’ Artist in Residence, Frank McMahon. In August, the laundry also became operational, and the garden, landscaping works - contracted out to Bare Earth Landscape - part of Stage 1, situated at the north side of Mary Costa House, commenced. By October, 2013 the following overall project progress had occurred for Stages 1, 2 and 3: new, north side car park; 4 new beds; administration; dining; new staff room and piano lounge & single room, 100% completed. Chapel, as well as staff room, reception, kitchen, kiosk and shops, hairdressing and allied health in Borrela House, 95% completed. Car park, south side (ill and retaining wall), 30% completed. Piazza and main entry, 15% completed, and 30 new beds, 5% completed. Work for Stage 4 (Dementia Wing) is expected to start in February, 2015. Work on the Chapel was progressing fast, and following its completion at the end of November 2013, it was formally opened following its blessing on 6th December 2013, the Feast Day of St. Nickolas. Thus, the Chapel was accordingly and appropriately named “St. Nicholas Chapel”. A multi-faith and multi-purpose chapel, with a deeply calm and evoking ambience, the blessing service involved a number of priests from different denominations, with sacred text readings in community languages.

By June, 2014 most of the rooing was up in the 30 bed development, other than a small section due to rain interruptions. In July-August, 2014 all rooing works were completed in the “Jordan Wing”, with some minor delays having occurred as a result of inclement weather, mainly rainy conditions. Following the naming rights donation of MACS’ Patron and Appeal Chairman, Frank Costa, the “Jordan Wing” 30 bed development was named “the Annie O’Malley House’’ in June, 2014. Internal works involving wirings, plastering, painting and shelving, are currently (September, 2014) progressing rapidly, with work also being carried out on the Clock Tower and Piazza areas. All works on Stage 3 are expected to be fully completed, with the building to be handed over to MACS by mid- December, 2014. The irst residents to move in to Annie O’Malley House in January, 2015 will be the 14 residents from Borrela House, whose units will make up the new re-conigured dementia wing. Then the remaining 16 beds will be taken up by new residents to come in from February, 2015. Already by August, 2014 three individuals have put their names down for the Annie O’Malley House. Luxuriously spaced, of the highest quality and conigurations, with a most inviting and welcoming ambience, and a warm, vibrant and communally attractive Piazza complementing it, Annie O’Malley House is undoubtedly to be setting the standard for exquisitely ine, superior living.

Service Redevelopment: 1. Dementia speciic service MACS attempted, of course, many times to establish a dementia speciic service. Most of those attempts failed, as the Federal Government did not approve of any of its submitted funding applications. Given that as an organisation, MACS did not have any reserves of its own, either in cash or assets, it had to take its time and wait for the right opportunity to arise. Time, on this matter, seemed to be on MACS’ side, as with its ongoing operation in the aged care ield, the organisation developed a strong, robust track record of inancial performance, coupled with an equally impressive provision of quality care, especially with respect to cultural sensitivity, appropriateness and responsiveness. In short, the passage of time enabled MACS to establish its credibility and professional expertise in the business and community services sectors. With the dementia service being identiied by the MACS Board as its top priority for 2009/10, when the ZRIL loan opportunity came up in DOHA’s 2010 ACAR funding round, MACS went for it. Incorporating a wider service and building re-development, the establishment of a dementia speciic service constituted an integral 71 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


MACS’ Artist in Residence, Frank McMahon sketches of the Piazza

part of its $5,700,000 ZRIL proposal as outlined in the last chapter. Failure in that year to get its proposal up did not dishearten MACS. It kept doing all the preparatory, background work with relevant authorities (council, utility authorities, banks, staff trainingprofessional development in dementia care) and having re-applied in 2011, the good news came through in December, 2011. The risk always was to rush into it and set up a dementia wing in a disjointed, piecemeal way, automatically and immediately. MACS, after all, had been crying out for years to establish the service. Again, Joy Leggo’s calm, considered and weighted judgement came to the fore: accepting MACS’ lack of experience in dementia care, and recognising the importance of specialist, expert involvement in this complex, highly challenging aged care area, she called for the involvement of an experienced dementia practitioner. Her recommendation was taken up by the Board and eventually James Grealy from Dementia Excellence Care was engaged, as previously outlined. The upshot of this was that a great deal of planning and careful consideration needed to be had beforehand, to ensure that the whole redevelopment, inclusive of the dementia service, was rendered in such a way to achieve optimal and sustainable outcomes in the years ahead. Following input from James Grealy and extensive research and analyses of dementia care trends, together with the existing parameters, facilities and the physical constraints at MACS’ site, in February 2013 it was resolved that the dementia wing, consisting of 14 beds, was to be re-conigured within the existing Borrela House facility. That entailed, then, the completion of the new 30 bed development, so that the 14 respective Borrela House residents could be transferred there. This transfer will occur in January, 2015. The initial costs for establishing the dementia 72 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

wing were in the vicinity of $850,000. By the time the dementia wing project is completed, the projected costs are to exceed $1.1 million. In February, 2015 DRAR Constructions will move in to the Borrela House site to make the necessary changes, modiications and improvements, setting up the dementia wing as a specialist but integrally conigured part of the residential care continuum at MACS. The expected works for this process are to take a few months and will be likely to be completed by the end of May, 2015. Thus, it has come to pass, by somehow a quirky twist that the dementia service, being the driving force behind the current building and service re-developments, at the end will be the last one to be completed, established and operated. 2. Complete Care In the efforts to consolidate and enhance its inancial strength, making it independent and free of constant reliance on government funding, MACS in 2008 undertook its irst aged care business venture with the SRS facility, Bella Chara, fully detailed in Chapter Eight of the book. That venture, indeed, has proven to be a most successful undertaking, both inancially as well as an excellent option of non-intensive, low level scale of care, empowering individuals to lead independent, care-free, and fulilling lives. Continuing with the same expectation and goal of improving its inancial health, MACS set another speciic objective in its January, 2012 - December, 2014 strategic plan. This time in the community based services: development of brokered care services, the time frame being July, 2012 to December, 2013. MACS’ arm of Brokered Community Services started to be conceptualised, articulated and driven by Karin Bauer, the Community Services Manager, who was also ably directed, guided and supported by MACS’


CEO, Joy Leggo. During the months of July to October, 2012 not much was developed on the service, other than informal discussions with staff and colleagues. In November, 2012 Karin Bauer presented to the Board the Business Plan for the service. The proposed service was to be a separate one from MACS’ existing community programs, becoming a proitable arm of the organisation. It would include the following: personal care, home care, interpreting, case management and consultation, social support and outings, convalescence support, medication management, escort transport and overnight care services. The Federal Government’s reforms in aged care, and more importantly the disability sector through the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), meant consumers would be able to direct their government funding to a wide variety of service providers, including brokered services. Under the NDIS, the government was committing $3.7 million in aged care over the next ive years, as well as $1 billion over four years in the disability sector. With strong experience in delivering community services, MACS could expect to do well in this undertaking. Its target population would be frail elderly from the general community, elderly migrants, recipients of residential consumer directed care, socially isolated individuals, veterans and individuals with disabilities. The two distinct objectives of the proposed service, as outlined by Karin Bauer in her Business Plan were: ‘short term goal, to provide an outstanding service to the citizens of Geelong with a lexible approach, respect, informed choice, and reliability’, and ‘long term goal, to build a proitable arm of MACS which will beneit all MACS clients and residents and build solid relationships with the community’. With the consumer directed care under the Federal Government’s “Living Longer, living better” reforms, the general anticipation in the community sector was that demand would increase for brokered services. MACS had a number of challenges to address, including its workforce employment conditions. Under MACS’ Health and Allied Services (HAS) award, at the time, labour costs for delivering the brokered service would be prohibitive, especially when the other service providers applied the SACS (Social and Community Services) award. To be competitive, MACS had to address this issue in its next EBA agreement, transferring its employees working in the community services programs from the HAS to SACS award. In March 2013, in her Brokerage Model Proposal, Karin Bauer requested $60,000 seed funding to engage, for a period of six months, a specialist consultant who had in the past set up and successfully operated a brokered service. Additionally, seed funding would be

utilised for promotion, marketing purposes and basic infra-structure costs, including legal fees for service agreements, insurance and phone services. The Board, having considered the proposal in its 26th March, 2013 monthly meeting, resolved to provide the seed funding, as requested. The consultant, Lyn McCarter, commenced on the project in mid-April, 2013. The brokered service project was eventually named MACS Complete Care, with Brand Bureau, a Geelong based marketing service, having been engaged to develop the Complete Care’s marketing strategy. With business processes, policies and procedures of the service being reviewed and inalised, on 18th June 2013, MACS Complete Care was publically launched at Bella Chara and started to operate on 1st July, 2013. Nancy Buckley, an existing MACS community services employee, was appointed to the position of Complete Care Manager, with care workers initially being engaged through Direct Recruitment, a local employment agency. Right from the beginning, it became clear that the service targets (monthly service delivery hours), as initially set, could not be met. As a result, the target hours were substantially revised down. Even with this, the situation did not make much difference. In November 2013, with the monthly target being set to 1,500 contact hours for the service to break even, the actual hours achieved were only 300. The Board of Directors raised serious concerns in terms of the viability of the service and requested the CEO to provide a full review of the service. In her review of the service presented to the Board at the February 2014 meeting, some of the key observations made by Joy Leggo were as follows: - The NDIS, due to its fee structure, as well as unclear operational processes, failed to provide incentives to service providers. Its funding rates were not competitive or comparable to those within the private, business sector. - There was a genuine perception dificulty within the general community in overcoming the assumption that ‘MACS is a service for migrants only’. - The revised loss for the year ended 30th June 2014, projected to be $111,000, could be absorbed by the operating surplus in the area of community packages. - The staff brokerage utilisation of Complete Care within MACS’ residential services proved to be quite effective in reducing overall costs, as MACS did not have to source outside workers when the need for such arose. A positive potential development taking place around this time was the possibility of entering into a service 73 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


arrangement with the Hospice Foundation Geelong (HFG). Complete Care submitted a proposal to provide $200,000 worth of palliative care services. The initial favourable response could not be taken for anything, until the matter was actually fully considered and a inal response received from the Hospice Foundation one way or another. Joy Leggo recommended that Complete Care continue as a potential funding stream for MACS; Nancy Buckley be returned to the community services program, with Lyn McCarter taking over as the Complete Care Manager. If the Hospice Foundation Geelong service developments, or other opportunities did not occur, then terminate Lyn McCarter’s position in June 2014, and continue utilising Complete Care staff brokerage in MACS’ residential services, with this being the cheaper option to employing casual staff. Each month, the service was not actually making great inroads. Board Directors began to grow concerned and impatient with the overall future of the service and its value to the organisation. By June, 2014 the situation started to improve just minimally. Lyn McCarter’s vigour, enthusiasm and full utilisation of her business and professional contacts in the sector, although strongly encouraging, were not translating yet into business outcomes for Complete Care. Things were progressing positively on the Hospice Foundation Geelong (HFG) front by now, but the whole process was extremely slow as the Foundation wanted to ensure that it took all the time required to do its due diligence properly, fully and thoroughly, before it made a inal decision on the MACS Complete Care service arrangement partnership. MACS now had to grapple with and do some hard thinking. Other than the Hospice Foundation Geelong eventuality, the Board’s concern and burning question, still was the reality that the service, in operation now for a year, was not picking up enough business. All attempts of the past, including promotional activities undertaken by Brand Bureau - letter drops, advertisements in the local print media and select articles - failed entirely. None yielded positive outcomes which could have resulted in service performance improvements of any signiicance. The fact that Complete Care was utilised, when needed, internally for MACS’ residential services, was certainly a plus factor. This practice, though, could never on its own, enable the service to survive. It would be deceptively simplistic and self- defeating to base the operation of MACS Complete Care on that premise. The service had to generate work outside the organisation, with the need to pick up business in the general community, and certainly private clients, becoming an inescapable imperative. One way or another, the service just had to simply and pragmatically improve its performance by picking up more work. 74 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

The Board entered into a crucial, critical phase of discussions and deliberations on the future of the service. Chairman Jordan Mavros, in fully supporting Joy Leggo’s position, argued the case focusing on the following points: the service should be continued for another year; the NDIS situation would eventually be sorted out, becoming operationally an attractive proposition for service providers. Ultimately, MACS’ business future in the area of community services programs was with the brokerage service model, especially as the Federal Government was now committed to, and moved into the implementation of all aged care and disability services being funded by service consumers on a co-contribution basis. Finally, in the overall scheme of things, trialling of a new service just for one year, in the middle of a messy, confusing and challenging environment for everyone, was not enough time. New government policies kept coming in, transitional arrangements were taking place between the State and Federal Governments on the HACC services front, and of course the NDIS national program was far from making sense to the sector, operationally, programmatically and inancially. MACS had to ride out this dificult phase and surely Complete Care would, in time, turn its service performance around. Having considered all factors, possibilities and eventualities, the Board made the decision to continue with the service. This was to be on the basis of constantly and vigorous monitoring of the performance of the service and its short term continuous trends. Ongoing losses of any levels by Complete Care could not be sustained for ever. Positive outcomes started to eventuate. Hospice Foundation Geelong (HFG), in addition to MACS’ formal proposal and discussions had to date, requested further clariication on a number of issues. In July, 2014 MACS provided a written response to questions raised by HFG. Following more meetings and discussions, in August 2014 the Board of HFG advised MACS of its decision to fund Complete Care’s Palliative Service proposal. At this point in time (September, 2014), the formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is being reviewed and inalised. Once the MOU is duly executed, then Complete Care will make the necessary preparations, arranging for its implementation. On another pleasing note, Complete Care’s performance for August, 2014 has been slightly above the set target hours. There is still a substantial obstacle to be overcome with service consumers, particularly those who have utilised HACC services in the past. Simply, brokerage services offered by any provider cannot operate on fee levels similar to those funded by current HACC services. With choice and additional, enhanced levels of service, some of these challenges could be overcome. Also, recent developments are more


reassuring that the NDIS national scheme is starting to improve now. The sector is observing NDIS’ ongoing evolution and progress implementation with great interest. The signs are there for a strong performance and business success for Complete Care in the years ahead. Hopefully, Complete Care can emulate and become comparably successful to its residential counterpart, Bella Chara. The Board, management and staff wait in anticipation! 3. Fundraising Even before MACS obtained its ZRIL approval from the Federal Government in 2011, it was fully and acutely aware of the need to pursue a substantial fundraising effort, so that the necessary amounts could be raised for the completion of the buildings and services re-development project. In its irst unsuccessful ZRIL funding submission, the inancial and business proposal contained a $600,000 component which was to be MACS’ own contribution from fundraising efforts. Raising funds, thus, for the redevelopment project was on the cards from the word go. MACS, of course, now had a strong and reliable ally: the lessons of past experience and the wisdom of time were on its side. Quietly conident, MACS was ready to continue with successful practices learned on the ground, and heed challenges through learning from and being strengthened by them. Most importantly though, MACS had in place a formal internal structure of its own, a vehicle enabling it to undertake fundraising activities to provide funds for capital developments of the very nature being embarked upon under its 2011 ZRIL successful application. In July, 2006 the Directors of the Board discussed the issue of, and took a decision to form a Foundation. In its November 2006 meeting, the Board resolved for the Foundation to be legally established. The purpose of establishing the Foundation was to provide a capital funding source for MACS. Attracting bequests and donations, and then utilising the income derived from such sources, with the capital being preserved, made good sense and was a general practice widely observed in the community. MACS already had an example of a bequest, as mentioned in the book (Mrs Zenona Walters’ house bequest to MACS). MACS set up the Foundation Committee which, meeting quarterly, was made up from Directors Bob Holzer and Grazia Shrimpton, volunteer Maria Hamilton, a well-connected and experienced fundraising practitioner, especially in the educational sector, and CEO, Joy Leggo. As MACS started working on its 2009/10 ZRIL funding proposal, it became clear that a dedicated person was needed to resource the Committee and do all the clerical, administrative and follow up work.

Simply, the work of the Committee had to be properly supported and professionalised. Half-baked measures would not yield the desired outcomes. Thus, on the recommendation of Maria Hamilton, Catriona Ainsworth was appointed to the position of Fundraising Manager, for two days a week, on 23rd September, 2009. In time, due to the wider role and engagement of Catriona Ainsworth, the position was renamed Community Relations Manager. With the successful outcome of MACS’ 2011 ZRIL application, the Foundation Committee undertook the task and responsibility of raising the funds for MACS through a public appeal. No committee comprising members outside the MACS family was set up as such. Already processes were in place for, and annual fundraising campaigns addressed to the wider MACS community - the Board, management, staff, residents, relatives and supporters of MACS - were taking place. To strengthen these processes, in May 2010, MACS bought and installed a computer software package, ‘ThankQ Database System’, to help with its fundraising as well as all future campaigns. The target for the appeal, set initially to the value of $1million, was revised upward to $2 million on the advice of Maria Hamilton. She further advised that the public appeal should not be launched until MACS, through the Committee’s in-house background efforts, raised substantial sums, and if possible, close to half of the target funds. Maria Hamilton also made herself available to coach Directors on the art of asking. Further, it was unanimously agreed by the Foundation Committee and all Directors that a well-respected, recognised and inluential individual needed to head the public appeal. The Foundation Committee requested all board Directors for each one to submit their own lists with names of individuals and organizations likely and able to contribute substantially to the public appeal. Then a inal Donor List was drawn, discussed and inalised by the Board. Each Director undertook to follow up the individuals and organisations they felt there was a chance of being successful with, because of the nature and strength of their personal, professional or business relationships with them. Naming rights were also available for the different parts of the re-development as the Committee inalised a Naming Rights List. In April, 2012 Joy Leggo met with Frank Costa and asked him to become MACS’ Campaign Chairman. Frank Costa’s agreement to that request was another strong outcome. As time went on, in addition to pledges made by individuals, MACS started receiving responses from philanthropic trusts and foundations it had submitted funding applications to. Some substantial pledges were coming in now. When the Percy Baxter Foundation 75 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


(Perpetual Trustees) made its pledge for $200,000, through the strong support of its local advisors, Cameron McNaughton and Austin Patterson, the sums raised by MACS’ fundraising efforts started to become quite respectable. Meanwhile, Joy Leggo and Jordan Mavros had a few meetings in the irst half of 2013 with the Victorian Minister for Health, the Hon. David Davis, through the efforts of David Koch, MLC, Member for Western Victoria. In the irst meeting, Joy Leggo outlined the overall project re-development, while emphasizing the point that MACS’ approach to the Minister was for the State Government to provide inancial support for the completion of the dementia wing; a new service to be established on an existing site. He was informed that the estimated costs for the dementia service were in the vicinity of $850,000, upon which the Minister asked if a ifty-ifty match by the State Government would be acceptable to MACS. That proposition was fully agreed to, and the Minister made it clear that the $425,000 pledge was to be a provision in the 2013/14 budget. MACS, then, could not expect anything in the current inancial year. Additionally, Minister Davis offered to provide a small contribution ($25,000) towards research and preparatory work for the dementia service. Pledges and contributions now coming in from staff, supporters of MACS, individuals and businesses that had been approached, were adding up to $500,000. In 2014, with the time for MACS’ 20th Anniversary fast approaching (May, 2014), discussions were had as to how to organise a celebratory 20th Anniversary Function, as well as the launch of the Public Appeal. These events, of course, could not be held together. The question now arising was how should they be spaced out, and where should they be held? At the end, it was resolved to hold the 20th Anniversary Function at Capri Receptions on Friday, 16th May, 2014, while the Appeal Launch cocktail function was to be held at MACS’ St. Nicholas Chapel on Tuesday, 17th June, 2014. The 20th Anniversary Function, attended mainly by existing and past staff, past and current Directors and a small group of supporters, was a most successful event enjoyed by everyone. On Tuesday, 12th June 2014, Joy Leggo and Jordan Mavros hosted Frank Costa and his wife Shirley at the MACS site. Following a brief discussion, Jordan Mavros asked them to listen to and carefully consider a proposition Joy Leggo was to put before them. Joy Leggo then requested of them to think about making a naming right donation for the new 30 bed development. She put it to them that, since a naming right was in place with Mary Costa House, it would only be beitting to complement it with another one, ‘Annie O’Malley House’ in memory of 76 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

Shirley’s mother. On being asked as to what amount should be considered, Joy Leggo stated that it would have to be the same as with Mary Costa House: $250,000 spread over ive years. Frank and Shirley Costa took the request on board and promised to come back with a response soon. On the night of the Appeal Launch, 17th June 2014, co-hosted by Jordan Mavros and Appeal Chairman, Frank Costa, Minister David Davis made a public announcement of the State Government’s $25,000 grant to MACS, pledging also his support for the entire MACS re-development project. At the conclusion of the Launch, Frank Costa, MACS Patron and Appeal Chairman, announced his pledge for $250,000. Altogether, the Appeal has progressed extremely well, with funds raised to the present time in September 2014, approaching the million dollar mark. There is still a possibility of attracting more funds from the State Government. This will be clearer after the State elections which are to be held in November, 2014. All local politicians from both major parties are fully aware of the current developments at MACS. The signs are very encouraging and the Appeal could well reach its overall target. Such outcome will be of crucial importance to MACS. From its initial building contract of $9.12 million, quite a few changes, modiications and additions at the instructions of the Board, including the Clock Tower, have subsequently been brought in. Every penny will be needed, as the costs for the re-development project will be well in excess of $11 million by the time all works are to be fully completed in May, 2015.


PART FOUR

The Culture of MACS


CHAPTER TEN

Values 1. Vision; mission; guiding value principles How does one deine, or describe for that matter, the culture of an organisation; this all-important, nebulous, priceless glue that binds inescapably all separate and distinct parts of the organisation together, giving it its very life, soul and essence? A good start is the organisation’s philosophical orientation and ethical foundations: its vision, mission and values. At all times, MACS was uncompromisingly dedicated to cultural diversity, respecting, accepting and valuing equally all members of the general community. Its focus, orientation and special concern was with the provision of quality aged care to elderly of all different backgrounds. This reality could not but be relected in the organisation’s adopted principles, guiding its conduct and overall undertakings and operations. Like all aspects of MACS’ operations, the articulation of its values and principles evolved organically and took a few years to be formally stipulated and publically stated. In its 1997/98 Annual Report, MACS’ mission was proudly stated as follows: ‘Multicultural Aged Care Services is dedicated to the provision of excellence in care, to meet the diverse needs of the multicultural community in the Geelong region’ The mission was supported by a set of values: ‘MACS bases its policies and procedures on a number of values which we hold to be essential. We believe in providing care which - promotes dignity and respect - is based on integrity - values cultural and religious diversity - encourages the expression of an individual’s cultural heritage - allows freedom of choice - respects the privacy of individuals - relects dedication on the part of staff and management - strives for continuous improvement and world best practice in the standard of care and provision of services 80 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

- ensures accountability to all interested parties - our clients, their families, the wider community and our funding bodies - is based on cooperation and collaboration’ In the following years, as the organisation established its expertise and credibility, expanding its suite of services and streamlining its operations, in addition to the unchanged mission, MACS created its vision, which since 2010 remained the same: “We value a community where there is conidence in aged care, where cultural diversity is truly celebrated and family and community remain connected”. The statement of values was then accordingly modiied and abbreviated to ‘MACS culture is based on providing excellence in care that: *promotes dignity, *is based on integrity, *values cultural and religious diversity, and *encourages freedom of choice’. Note that MACS’ cardinal value of cultural diversity is not simply tolerated or accepted in its vision statement. Rather, unashamedly, proudly and triumphantly, it is celebrated. In terms of well-being and meaningful living, the family and community remain connected. It could not be otherwise. For many residents of MACS who never had family or lost their family member(s) before or during their stay in MACS, MACS became, in their own words, their family. When MACS residents could not go out to visit their respective communities, partaking of various religious, social and cultural events of their heritage and tradition, the communities would come into MACS with dance groups, priests and social clubs visiting regularly. For those connected with the MACS family they all know that MACS’ culture of warmth, love and caring - woven in all its modes of functioning and operations is a reality lived and breathed daily. Perhaps, a feeling, an understanding and as close an outlining of what is encapsulated in MACS’ values, can be glimpsed from Chairman, Jordan Mavros’ undertaking to a Relatives Forum at MACS in May, 2010: “MACS is a caring family. This culture of caring, this gem, we - the Board, management, staff and volunteers - treasure it and pledge that it is not up for negotiation and shall never be compromised. We ask the residents of our facility, as well as all recipients of our services, together with their family members and loved ones, to hold us to it and continuously remind us of our pledge”.


2. Operational/ management principles and practice

• Cultural Diversity reports ( annual)

Together with its culture of caring, MACS is equally conident and proud of its operational principles and management practices. Emanating from the personal footprint and style of professional conduct of CEO Joy Leggo, operational systems engaged in and discharged by management and staff at MACS, have been based on responsibility, honesty, fairness, impartiality, consistency and respectfulness. Having set the tone and practice mode from the irst day of MACS’ operation, every incoming employee followed on the accepted, practised principles.

• Internal service audits conducted by Directors (six monthly)

As the organisation grew in resident numbers and range of services, as well as employees, robustly documented operational systems were needed. In constantly analysing operational practices and systems, management considered improvements and made relevant recommendations to the Board where there were implications on inancial outlays. By way of example, recognising the limitations of MACS’ internal Performance Management System (PMS) with staff development and performance management issues, in May, 2000 the CEO sought the engagement of an outside specialist consultant to develop a new PMS system for MACS. Likewise, in March 2001 management requested the purchase of Desk Bank and Direct Debiting pack from MACS’ bank to optimise the organisation’s inancial administration eficiencies. In August, 2002 MACS’ Quality Forum Committee was established to create an infra-structure of continuous improvement within MACS that was to mature and develop over time. Meeting quarterly, the Committee comprised a Board Director, Gael Perry, two family representatives, MACS’ departmental managers and the CEO. The Committee set itself the responsibility of taking action on Incident Reports, Occupational Health, Safety and Infection Control Reports, ANSTAT updates, improvement logs and hazard reports. Additionally, the Committee was responsible for overseeing the internal audits within the facility. Importantly, in overseeing the audits for the 44 Standards set by the Commonwealth Aged Care Standards Agency (the Accreditation Agency), the Committee determined that any audit which scored under 80% compliance would be acted on as a priority in its Action Plan. From this, a wide range of quality assurance reports (samples included in the Select Documents section) and practices began to be generated on a regular monthly, half yearly and annual basis, including: • Departmental Continuous Improvement Plans (annual) • Resident Satisfaction surveys (annual) • Relative/ friend Satisfaction surveys (annual) • Staff Satisfaction surveys (annual)

• MACS Chat staff newsletters (fortnightly) • Relative Forums (six monthly) Throughout the past twenty years of its operation, MACS has consistently and fully met, every three years, all 44 Standards set by the Commonwealth Aged Care Standards Agency, the Federal Government’s accreditation agency. Not a single standard failed, ever. Further, as part of its quality assurance and risk management practice, since June, 2006 MACS is also a participant in the aged care sector quarterly benchmarking surveys conducted by QPS. The surveys show MACS’ service performance results against sector-wide performance. Conident in the knowledge of the effectiveness and eficiency of its operations, MACS always welcomes and engages systematically in internal and external scrutiny. Indicative of the nature of its culture, as well as the quality of its operational principles and management practices is, by some measure, the fact that with a complement of more than 150 employees, MACS’ staff turnover ratio is less than 2% of its workforce per annum. 3. Delivery of care: challenges and opportunities, MACS Model of Care If the question of “who, what is MACS?” is addressed to Directors, management, staff and volunteers, most likely the answer will be: ‘MACS is a family; a special warm, caring and loving family’. What is it, though, that makes it so? Doesn’t actually every other provider in the ield claim the same? Let us look at the manner in which care is delivered at MACS to unravel its intangible fabric and see it for what it is. At the very basic level, the care delivered at MACS must meet the formal standards as set and determined by the Commonwealth Accreditation Agency. MACS has done so unfailingly for each and every one of its accreditation cycles. It has a clean record on unannounced visits of the Agency, meeting all compliance requirements. Administrative, technical, operational systems are in place, backed up by a strong, supportive management structure to deliver care and services at MACS’ residential facilities, as well as to its community clients. However, it must be kept in mind that, strong internal operational frameworks, as well as compliance with Government mandatory requirements cannot, and do not, of their own necessarily create or constitute a culture of caring. Along with all government policy developments and new directions in aged care, MACS made every effort to meet the presenting challenges. For instance, 81 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


MACS responded to the policy of “Ageing in Place” introduced in 1998 by the Federal Department of Health and Family Services. The policy allowed elderly people to be cared for in the same facility without having to be transferred elsewhere when and if their care needs changed. Although MACS at the time did not have a high care (nursing home) facility, it brought in properly qualiied staff and started making appropriate adjustments to its workforce to provide the required care to higher needs residents. In doing so, it met its legal, moral and ethical standards.

services area for example, as well as other work-low routines. Importantly, the consultant encouraged management to think about refocusing its mode of service delivery and consider tweaking its work-lows and routines. The service provision practice could be adjusted and the pendulum rebalanced to provide process lexibility and a focused, person-driven approach. The fundamentals were there, all MACS had to do was to slightly change its work routines, re-appraising care and administrative/ technical eficiencies.

Despite the assurance and conidence in the quality of its administrative, operational and clinical care systems in place, one could not actually tell deinitively how “caring” MACS’ care was. Not until it was veriied by a third, outside party. Reliance could not be entirely and absolutely placed with the Accreditation Agency. By necessity and its very nature, the departmental Accreditation Agency’s assessment process has to focus on the technical, almost mechanically formulaic, administrative compliance aspects, and observations made on visiting days. As detailed and thorough as this process is, it does not always cover and cannot easily capture the intangible qualities of care. A chance for a third party, not emotionally, inancially or professionally invested with MACS, came along in 2009 as MACS embarked upon its quest to establish a dementia speciic service.

Put crudely, the driving operational principle had to be one where tasks, routines and processes of the organisation needed to it the likes, wishes and preferences of the resident, not the resident itting the operational imperatives of the organisation. The philosophical foundation, the value principle behind the consultant’s observation was the concept and practice of person centred care. In other words, daily routines, processes, and the overall mode of work practice and service delivery needed to have the resident, the person as the point of reference and at the centre of all thinking and doing of the care.

James Grealy, a specialist consultant from Dementia Excellence Care was engaged in 2009 to help MACS formulate its funding proposal to the Federal Government for a dementia speciic service and associated capital re-developments of the organisation. Following his on-site considered analysis of worklows and service delivery routines within the entire MACS facility, he came up with a number of critical observations. Amongst other strengths, MACS had the following: • Physical welcoming environment, with a warm, friendly and respectful staff attitude across the board • Well trained, passionately committed, dedicated and caring employees • A distinct, strong culture ideally aligned with the organisation’s values and mission • Buildings with excellent equipment and facilities • Strong administrative and operational structures, with robust systems of processes and procedures in place The pluses were many. MACS had already in place, and was proud of, its ‘invisible walls of care’ practice. At the same time, James Grealy felt that, given the considerable strengths of MACS, overall service outcomes were not achieved at the optimal level. Certainly, ineficiencies existed in some areas, the food 82 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

Joy Leggo, having deeply considered the matter from the operational, organisational perspective as well as MACS’ vision and values, fully accepted the signiicance of the person centred care concept. After all, it made sense. Full accreditation compliance certainly could never be compromised. Formal standards had to always be met. At the same time, an aged care facility did not have to, and could not operate on military precision and clinical perfection basis. Why does every resident have to have their meal, or be in bed, at an exact, same time? Where or how could individual resident likes and preferences be accommodated? Joy Leggo was convinced that the mode of the person centred care had to be introduced and fully infused into MACS’ existing strong culture of caring. Bringing in the Executive Team and the leadership group, she embarked on the process of introducing it to MACS’ entire workforce. 2010 and 2011 were challenging and hectic years for MACS ahead of the preparations for its proposal and implementation of the current buildings and services re-development. Then, with the Federal Government’s approval of the ZRIL loan submission, MACS could not be busier. Along the capital works and services redevelopment, Joy Leggo was unlinchingly committed to developing and operationalising the person centred care approach, creating MACS’ own model of care. This was embedded as a matter of priority into MACS’ strategic plan and was a standing agenda item of the Board’s monthly meetings. Its designated time frame was from July, 2012 to December, 2013.


Joy Leggo assigned the task of researching, developing and inalizing the MACS Model of Care to Luba Pryslak, MACS’ Director of Care. Note the position’s name: Director of Care. What’s in a name one might ask? Certainly in MACS’ case, it is not simply a matter of semantics. Substantively, there is intent, purpose and signiicance. It is not, for example, ‘Director of Nursing’; rather, it is ‘Director of Care’. The task could not be assigned to a more appropriate employee. A well experienced, qualiied and credentialed health professional in her own right, Luba Pryslak is a senior employee of MACS. She tackled the task assiduously, undertaking extensive research and literature review in the area, together with speciic focus-groups consultations. Consultations were held with groups of residents, family members/ relatives, staff, volunteers and Directors. This she undertook on top of her regular work as Director of Care, well in the middle of the current re-developments, as well as MACS’ divisional service reviews. The project did not inish in time and it is still continuing. It is far too important and no short cuts are taken with it. All augers well for MACS’ own generated, owned and practised model of care. In addition to departmental accreditation cycles and spot visits, there are other formally recorded and documented mechanisms, through which quality of care at MACS can be critically considered and assessed. Formal annual satisfaction surveys of residents and relatives are consistently complimentary of the care provided at MACS. Annual staff satisfaction surveys are equally strong of their assessment on quality of care provided to residents and community clients of MACS. Six monthly Relative Forums are held, most often with the Chairman and CEO in attendance, where matters of concern are openly and honestly discussed.

from them that are extremely positive and afirmative of MACS. In any of your visits these days, you cannot walk along the MACS facilities and not notice a beautiful, endearing occurrence: Joy Leggo as she passes individuals, residents or visiting family members and friends, not only does she talk to them, but she knows and acknowledges them by their irst names. Is that so important? Well, it is because people matter at MACS when the organisation’s most senior Executive makes it her business to get to know them all and communicate directly with them at a personal, irst name level. With the MACS Model of Care project progressing slowly but steadily, MACS is conident in the services it provides and their quality of care. Certainly, MACS was correctly pointed to examining certain aspects of its service delivery practice and was challenged to ask questions. No rationalisations, or typically bureaucratic justiications of budgetary and iscal constrains being prohibitive were offered at the time and ever since. Quality of care and caring is at the very heart of MACS, not to be compromised or negotiated. MACS responded strongly by turning the presenting challenge into an opportunity, thus developing its very own model of care. It is quite auspicious that the MACS Model of Care project is evolving and being inalised concurrently with the present capital works and services re-development undertakings.

The relatives at each of those forums are always encouraged to respond to the request of ‘please be critical, as brutally honest as you can so that improvements are made at MACS, because only then will we know of what really matters to your loved ones here’. Not that the relatives do not have any issues to raise, but invariably they cannot hide their impatience in saying how well everyone is looked after and cared for at MACS. They want to talk about the positives and all the good things of MACS, as well. Very typically they say ‘since the time mum came to MACS, she has become alive again. She has got her life back, and we have our lives, too. We could not have asked for a better place than MACS. MACS is the best’. Then there are the informal, anecdotal things that occur. Employees, volunteers, Directors of MACS - in their social or professional networks and personal interactions with people - come across responses 83 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


CHAPTER ELEVEN

Human resources 1. Management From its humble beginnings in May, 1994 MACS today is a well-integrated, multi-service aged care provider with consolidated practice expertise in cultural diversity. At the time, Joy Leggo as the Executive Oficer, together with the Residential Care Co-ordinator, constituted its management. In addition to them, a small group of 15 staff made up the organisation’s entire suite of human resources. Today (September, 2014) MACS has a complement of 150 employees (permanent and casual) and 57 volunteers, with an annual operating budget exceeding $10 million. With the workforce of this size, MACS’ management is now more complex, well-structured and resourced, comprising two distinct tiers. The irst tier is the Executive Team (CEO, Joy Leggo; Deputy CEO & Manager of the current re-development, Alwyn Gallina, and Business Manager, Chris Hudgell). The second tier is the Leadership Group, made up of divisional service managers, leading and managing their respective areas: Luba Pryslak, Director of Care; Shari Mulder Manager, Clinical Care; Vera Luczo Manager, Environmental Services; Rob Berry Manager, Food Services; Karin Bauer Manager, Community Services; Jan Braddy Manager, WH&S; Gwen Mackie Manager, Bella Chara; Brenda Harrison, Policy development and Research Manager; Lizzy Bilogrevic, Educator, and Catriona Ainsworth, Community Relations Manager. In her capacity as the Executive, operational Head of MACS, Joy Leggo in discharging her CEO responsibilities ensures that all her thought processes, judgement and actions are based upon and guided by professional integrity and personally owned principles of fairness, irmness, responsibility, consistency, loyalty and respectfulness. She unhesitatingly submits her own overall performance at MACS to the scrutiny of those principles and makes it her business that the Executive Team and Leadership Group follow and fully undertake the same practice. Joy Leggo acknowledges, encourages and rewards employee initiative, effort and application as they consistently lead to strong service and care outcomes. In 2013, MACS management commenced the process of a full review of the organisation’s whole range of services and programs. The review process has been 84 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

completed in some areas, while it is still continuing in others. The purpose and overall goal of the review is to fully integrate the entire program operations and services of MACS, guided by the person centred care principles. This has necessitated the changing of rosters and work-lows, with adjustments made to certain positions, roles and responsibilities, which now have been extended across all facilities. Further such adjustments and changes may take place upon the completion of the review. 2. Employees In June, 1994 barely two months into its operation, MACS had 17 individuals in its employ. Each year since its establishment, then, the employees have grown in numbers relecting the expertise and skills needed to deliver the required services. By 1998 the staff numbers increased to 39 individuals. In 2000, following MACS’ adoption of the policy of “ageing in place”, the organisation now was employing 2 registered nurses (division 1 and 2), a physiotherapist, along with administrative oficers, activities co-ordinator, environmental services, food services and personal care workers. In 2003 when the Residential Services Coordinator resigned, the position was replaced with the appointment of a Director of Care. From 2004 onward, with the introduction and delivery of the community based services through the CACPS program, as well as the construction and operation of the high care facility, Mary Costa House and the SHIP project, MACS saw its staff numbers climb to 83. Now there were nurse unit managers, CACPS care managers and personal carers. At the same time, new senior positions were created in existing services with the appointments of Environmental Services Manager and Food Services Manager, along with the elevation of Joy Leggo to the position of CEO since 1997. These staff increases and senior position designations were relecting the slow but steady and constant growth of MACS’ services. 2009 saw the completion and operation of the 60 bed SRS facility, Bella Chara, with Debby Elzahbi appointed as the initial Manager. On the community services front, MACS kept getting more packages, with the number of individual employees today reaching 150, with the


inclusion in that mix of an educator position and artist in residence. It must be clariied here that the numbers refer to individuals in the employ of MACS, not to actual full time positions. Thus, these individual employees equate to 85.5 EFT (effective full time) positions. This paid workforce of MACS is complemented by a pool of 57 volunteers. Most of MACS’ employees are bi-lingual and cover an impressively extensive range of community languages and cultures. Being true to its mission of providing culturally appropriate and responsive care, MACS’ value judgement on this issue is simple: every single resident in its care, as well as its community services clients, must be directly communicated with in their own language and cultural understanding that is meaningful to them and respectful of their particular circumstances. It is the pride and strength of MACS that this value judgment is a practised reality, a lived experience on a daily basis. Professional language services (interpreting and translating), of course, are accordingly engaged, as and when required. Such circumstances arise especially on care assessment/ privacy issues, legal and inancial arrangement matters. However, the signiicance of the subtleties and nuances of thorough understanding and communication in the living cultural context, not just on the linguistic level, cannot be overstated or substituted in a ‘technical’ way. Likewise, as part of MACS’ recruitment and employment practices, with all professional and personal attributes of candidates being equal, value is placed on to individuals with an additional language, or CALD background. There have actually been instances, too, where MACS has targeted employees of certain language and cultural backgrounds. MACS’ human resources nowadays represent 39 nationalities and cultural backgrounds. It does not need stressing then, that MACS’ greatest strength is its human resources, its staff and volunteers, who day in day out deliver the services and care to people living in its facilities and those in the community living at home. In that contextual consideration, how are the employees of MACS treated? What are their career path options, potential and possibilities? Let us start with an indication of the lowest, pragmatic denominator: staff turnover. With MACS, the staff turnover ratio is 2% of its workforce per annum, all in all an extremely low ratio. MACS must be doing something right for its employees, who by their loyalty, commitment and passion, ensure MACS maintains such a high staff retention rate. In terms of personal growth, professional development and career paths, MACS stands unmatched in the sector. Routine inservice sessions, seminars and attendance of training and educational forums are methodically and religiously

offered to its employees. Importantly, though, formal professional opportunities with tertiary qualiications or appropriate industry awards are given to MACS staff. From the Executive levels to managers, administrative personnel and carers, formal courses and training packages have been paid for by the organization. Sufice to say here that the CEO, Business Manager, Director of Care, Finance Oficer, just to mention a few, have all undertaken formal studies and courses, with costs provided by MACS. It is interesting to relect on the fact that MACS has a designated position of ‘educator’. Not only is the educator exploring every opportunity to avail MACS of government training subsidies, but together with staff, she organises individual professional development plans. In its annual budget, MACS has professional development and education costs as a separate line item allocation. Further, training and education are considered in a broad, wide contextual perspective at MACS. Learning English and helping staff improve their language command and competence has been an ongoing consideration at MACS, where staff are assisted to attend English language classes. Certain administrative tasks, processes and practices are also accordingly adjusted. This ensures employees not in perfect command of the English language are allowed to carry out their work. On another level, in March, 2014 MACS employees were given the opportunity to listen to Arnold Zabel, an award winning writer, storyteller and human rights advocate when he visited the facility. Through his presentation, staff understood the empowering and therapeutic importance of storytelling and being present. Being truly - not routinely - present, showing interest and listening to life stories being told by residents, is a most humane way of service provision, as well as profoundly enhancing the quality of care giving. As for career paths, advancement and attainment of personal and professional goals, the examples abound. Staff who have started as cleaners, carers or in nonqualiied, specialist positions have, with the support and assistance of MACS obtained formal qualiications and respective industry registrations. Many of them have been promoted and today they hold senior, leadership positions. In view of the overall number of employees engaged at MACS and the current developments on the site, management is considering the establishment of a HR department to fully address the needs of the organisation’s entire workforce human resources.

85 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


3. Volunteers

4. The Family of MACS

As with just about every organisation in the community, MACS has its own pool of dedicated, loyal, generous volunteers. Soon after its establishment, MACS attracted the interest of many individuals who, in different contexts and capacity, came into contact with the organisation. They were then engaged in a nonpaid basis as volunteers. From administrative, clerical tasks to being involved in recreational activities and social support visits, they began to add to the skills and overall expertise of the human resources at MACS. This integral addition has improved the quality and continuum of care offered at MACS.

One can justiiably be permitted to think that this ‘Family of MACS’ business is rather overly exaggerated and stretched beyond bearing. Be it as it may, MACS will never tire of stating, highlighting and constantly nurturing it.

For some ten years of its operation, MACS engaged and made utilisation of its volunteers in an ad hoc, non- coordinated mode. Subsequently, following seed funding from Give Where You Live (United Way Geelong as it was known at the time), MACS appointed a Volunteer Co-ordinator in February, 2006. The task of the Volunteer Co-ordinator was to formally organise, support and professionally run MACS’ pool of volunteers, complementing the organisation’s services and providing to it optimal value. The Volunteer Co-ordinator was a past employee of MACS, Linda Rizzi. Linda Rizzi initially commenced employment with MACS in May, 1994 as a personal care worker. In August, 1999 she then took over as Residential Services Co-ordinator, following the resignation of Roy Calic from the position. After a few years, she resigned and went overseas due to family business commitments. On her return to Geelong from overseas, she came back to MACS, employed this time as the Volunteer Co-ordinator. Her dedication, affection and passion for what MACS represented and offered to Geelong’s migrant communities and their elderly were now stronger than ever. With incredible vigour, enthusiasm and dedication, she threw herself into the task. By June, 2006 a group of 21 volunteers were providing a wide range of activities, services and programs at MACS on a regular basis, including involvement in art and craft, cooking, men’s shed, craft kiosk, coffee shop, cultural and prayer groups. Today, the 57 MACS volunteers are truly a much appreciated and acknowledged gem, offering their priceless services with a smiling face, kind gesture and loving care. For the 2013/14 inancial year, the generous time provided by this dedicated pool of volunteers reached 7,360 hours! With Linda Rizzi’s inexhaustible drive, their invaluable services to MACS will continue to grow in the years ahead.

86 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

The warmth, affection, caring and sense of belonging, vital ingredients constituting a healthy family environment and an irresistible life force being experienced within it, are highly visible at MACS. From its low and high care facilities to the SHIP independent living units and the Bella Chara SRS place, exchange of physical contact involving hugs, embraces and kisses between residents, their family members and staff and volunteers is a regular, unforced, naturally occurring phaenomenon. It is not a dictated upon practice, rather a genuine and mutually respectful expression of human emotion. Residents and community clients tell its employees that MACS is their family. Employees, volunteers and Directors invariably state, too, that MACS is part of their family. Once joining it, one cannot and does not part ways with the MACS family. As services, programs and the physical premises of MACS increased over the years since its establishment, so did its family, being constantly expanding and enhanced. An organic, living entity it began to form a strongly identiied, distinct community of its own, always looking at ways of development and implementing new programs, projects and services, responding to the evolving and changing needs of its members. An apt description of MACS can be appreciated in the words of Karin Bauer, Manager, Community Services, in her proposal to the Board for the establishment of a MACS Brokered Service: “MACS is a community in itself - a place where residents, carers, staff and visitors have a strong sense of belonging and a shared commitment to quality living. Through our active volunteer and outreach programs, MACS residents and community clients remain connected to the broader community and the traditions they love. Many of the MACS team are from non-English speaking backgrounds and bring special empathy and sensitivity to the programs and care we deliver. Cultural insights underpin our activities programs, our professional development and the unique way we provide our services”20. Further adding to the constant growth of the MACS family, the current buildings and services redevelopment, once completed, will indisputably make MACS an integrated, vibrant and strongly functioning community.


CHAPTER TWELVE

Governance 1. Governance practice: from Board of Management to Board of Governance (Directors) The manner and model in which the Board of MACS operated very much point to: (i) the historical factors, the presenting issues and challenges at each given time; (ii) the organisation’s overall need for consolidation, and (iii) the idiosyncrasies of each Chairman and their personal traits and leadership styles. Thus, the evolution of the Board’s functioning has been a slow progression from managerial to administrative/ operational and inbetween models, up to a good part of the mid-2000s. Steadily, the Board started to streamline and systematise its operations, clearly identifying and delineating its responsibilities from those of management. Progressively, the Board ensured it adopted contemporary, effective industry practices, evolving into what now is a clear corporate governance model. During the irst two-three years the Board of MACS, it is fair to stay, operated on a micro-management level. The Board had on its hands a green ield site, and a irst time involvement in this entirely new area of service development and delivery (aged care). No one really could tell as to how things would go. Pressing inancial concerns were aplenty; the bank loan repayment instalments kept coming up regularly, with the need for adequate operational cash low funds to run the service, of course, never ending. In the middle of a public appeal fund raising effort, as well, every effort from all fronts was required to ensure the organisation’s survival irstly, and then its consolidation. This reality necessitated the hands-on involvement of the Board and certainly, its Ofice Bearers. Simply, it was unavoidable. The relief could not but be great for the Board, its EO and all staff to see that the hostel facility was full within half a year of its operation. Importantly, too, the bank debt was reduced to just $52,000 by June, 1997. As soon as the priority of ensuring the organisation’s survival and successful operation was met, the next one came up: establishing a high care facility. The Barwon Health - Grace McKellar possibility arose in 1998 (transfer of 30 high care beds to MACS to establish a nursing home facility) and the Board now had to do some heavy lifting. Chairman Frank De Stefano was well-connected with the local business, political and professional circles. He continued his strong, personal involvement, assisted along by fellow Board members

Srechko Kontelj, Barbara Abley, George Ballas, Slobodan Mirkovic and Jordan Mavros, who all had good connections within their own particular networks. By this time, the organisation started to consolidate its operations and establish its credibility within the ield. The need for crystalizing the philosophical foundations and operating values was inescapable. The process of developing strategic policies and plans started in 1997 and was inalised with the adoption of the Strategic Plan in 1998. This process saw the articulation of the organisation’s mission statement, underpinned by a set of core values and, of course, the Strategic Plan. Following serious and soul searching deliberations, it chose to change its name. The Board looked to the future and went with the promise ahead: it decided to remove the constraining shackles of the name and concept of ‘Hostel’ and adopted the entire aged care services sector as its only possible destiny in the years to come. Thus, MACS - Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc. was formally born in 1998. With the ongoing probe and involvement of Joy Leggo, the Board started to look at quality performance and risk management issues, in addition to the inancial monitoring tasks. The Quality Forum was established in 2002 which led to many seminal outcomes, and by the end of 2005 the Board formalised its Board Policies and changed the mode of its operation together with its name. From now on it was the Board of Directors, not the Board of Management. This relected the Board’s move to the corporate governance model of functioning. Having identiied this area as a priority issue, speciic training and educational sessions on good governance, were organised for the Board. Steven Bowman, a specialist consultant from Life Mastery was engaged to run governance and strategic planning sessions on the “Conscious Governance” model. Fully matured and conident, the Board knew it was time to entirely remove itself from managerial and operational matters and concentrate on governance, high end policies and strategic directions matters. In December, 2005 the Board resolved to adopt a new Board agenda format, drawing the agenda items from its Strategic Plan and aligning them with the Plan’s strategic goals. (Emulating this practice, the annual CEO KPIs have in recent years been also identiied 87 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


from and fully aligning with the Strategic Plans). Further enhancing its governance role, in October 2007 the Board set up the CEO Remuneration and Review Committee, which subsequently expanded its role and was renamed Governance Committee. Already, as part of its risk management and service performance monitoring role, the Board decided in June, 2006 to participate in the QPS aged care sector benchmarking surveys. Further, in 2008 the Directors resolved to undertake internal six monthly audits in the areas ranging from administrative processes and service performance documentation to physical condition of the facilities and equipment. Along the way, the Board established a number of Committees, having their own terms of reference and reviewed regularly. All Directors are involved at least in one Committee. For the irst time in 2007, the Board undertook its selfevaluation process. The performance audit using an internally developed format was conducted for a few years on an annual basis. Eventually, the Board decided to have the audits for the Board and the Chairman conducted externally through the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and non Proit Studies, Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The QUT audits commenced being undertaken annually, with the Board making a decision in 2013 to have them conducted bi-annually. Audit excerpts are included in the Select Documents section. MACS’ Board mean performance is rated in the top highest performing quartile of sector participating organisations. One of the procedural changes the Board introduced in 2011 was the administrative process of electing its Ofice Bearers. Up to that year, nominations and elections to the respective positions of the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Treasurer were taking place at the actual AGM Board meeting. Since then, nominations are submitted in writing and forwarded to the Public Oficer four weeks before the AGM. On another, substantive matter, the Board also made certain changes to the Constitution in relation to the tenure of Directors. In its rules, there was no limit as to how long, and for how many years, one could serve as a Director on the Board. Recognising the fact that, while stability is essential for an organisation’s healthy functioning and success, renewal is imperative, the Board brought in a new rule. The rule allows for a maximum of nine year Director tenure, made up of 3 x thee year reappointments for all new, incoming Directors. In 2013, through the recommendation of its Risk & Compliance Committee, the Board resolved to develop and inalise its comprehensive Risk Management Framework with the involvement of consultants from 88 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

St. Laurence Community Services, a locally based aged care and community services provider. On a procedural matter, the Board also decided to hold its meetings bi-monthly, instead of monthly, with a review to be undertaken at the end of 2014. For every ‘nonmeeting’ month, a inancial snapshot, together with a concise outline of key MACS activities, is electronically circulated to all Directors, for monitoring and general information purposes. How well does the MACS Board perform? Anecdotally speaking, and by way of an example, the assessment and views of two Directors are proffered here. Bob Holzer: “I have been involved in many committees and boards, from small, voluntary community clubs and organisations to big, corporate entities. I haven’t come across any operating as effectively as MACS. MACS’ is one of the best performing Boards. There are no egos, no disunity; there is honesty, a united front and preparedness from everyone to work together and achieve outcomes”. Garry Kovacks, (retired Director a year ago): “It is really great that Directors are encouraged and feel free to express openly their opinion. As a Board we have our differences; we don’t necessarily agree with each other, yet we respect and learn from each other’s viewpoints. Importantly, we always arrive at a collective decision”. While Garry Kovacks was recruited speciically for his IT and risk management expertise, he stated that an additional motive to join MACS was to actually experience how a good organisation, like MACS, operates. To date there has not been a single Director who left the organisation feeling disgruntled or unhappy. The Board’s formal performance assessment can be seen in the QUT audits. 2. Current Board structure Currently MACS is comprised of the following Board Directors: Jordan Mavros, Chairman; Bob Holzer, Deputy Chairman; John Macarol, Treasurer, and Gael Perry, Gerald De Stefano, Michael Meagher and Spiro Fatouros, Directors. The CEO, Joy Leggo, the organisation’s Public Oficer, attends the Board’s bi-monthly meetings as a non-voting member. Non remunerated volunteers, the Directors collectively cover a wide range of skills and expertise, including corporate governance, legal, inancial, health, asset management, cultural diversity, general welfare and community development. The work of the Board is carried out through its Committees, each with their own Chairs and different meeting frequencies. The Board Committees and their membership are as follows: Finance & Audit: John Macarol, Chairman; Jordan


Mavros and Bob Holzer, Directors; Joy Leggo, CEO, and Chris Hudgell, Business Manager, Executive staff; bi-monthly meetings.

proit sectors. Sales, amalgamations and take-overs are now frequent occurrences. As far as the future is concerned, one needs to tread carefully.

Risk & Compliance: Gerald De Stefano, Chairman, Michael Meagher, Director; CEO, Business Manager and Jan Braddy, WH&S Manager, Executive staff; quarterly meetings.

Time and again in the past, MACS found itself profoundly challenged by inancial dificulties. Initially in the late 1980s to early 1990s, it had to raise enough monies for the hostel project’s balance of funds so that the Commonwealth would then release its AIP funds. This was the time around the Pyramid collapse in Geelong and public fundraising was a tough ask. Then, with the nursing home and dementia speciic service developments, MACS faced similar inancial problems. Additionally, innovative service development projects had to be held back because of lack of funds.

Foundation: Bob Holzer, Chairman; Maria Hamilton, external appointment, volunteer; CEO and Catriona Ainsworth, Community Relations Manager, Executive staff; quarterly meetings. Governance: Michael Meagher, Chairman; Jordan Mavros and Gael Perry, Directors, and CEO; three to ive meetings per annum. Quality: Gael Perry, Chairman, Spiro Fatouros, Director; staff, resident and family/ community representatives; quarterly meetings. The Board, in discharging its corporate governance responsibilities, undertakes a set of standard tasks and practices. These include: • Budget review and approval, annually • CEO performance monitoring and remuneration review, annually • Annual Planning Day • Board Policy reviews, tri-annually • Formulation of Strategic Plans, tri-annually • Review of Constitution, tri-annually • Board education and succession planning, annually • Internal administrative processes and service performance audits, six-monthly 3. Strategic directions and the future MACS Board’s medium to long term strategic directions are three-fold: (i) robust inancial performance, with the commencement of asset, reserves development; (ii) completion and full integration of the current developments, with quality enhancement of service provision and rigorous processes across the board, and (iii) consideration of developing regionally based facilities, in accordance with emerging needs, and outreach service hubs. The overall aged care landscape is currently volatile, unpredictable as well as challenging. At the Federal Government level, changes keep coming in regularly, with the attempt to develop a inancially sustainable aged care system proving to be quite problematic for the operators in the sector. Re-positioning and realignments of service providers are constantly taking place, both in the private, for-proit as well as the non-

In each case the proposed projects went ahead successfully, albeit three, four, ive plus years after the organisation’s planned and wished-for timeframes. No assets, no reserves, MACS on every occasion had to wait and bide its time. The lesson learned was quite clear: do not rely entirely on government funding. To that effect, in addition to having in place robust inancial systems and practices, the MACS Foundation was established in July, 2006 to help achieve that goal. With the current project works and existing bank loans, development of reserves, has by necessity to be a medium term goal. The importance of the completion of the current project works does not need any elaboration. One cannot hide the excitement for this eventuality. It is visible everywhere and with everyone. At the same time, there will be an impact on service delivery routines, worklows and personnel additions and adjustments. Just as important will be the need for emotional, mental absorption by management and staff, as much as the residents, their families and loved ones. Of course, the need to continue striving for excellence will not stop with the completion of the building works and the operation of the dementia speciic service. Vigilance at MACS has to reach and constantly operate at the highest level. Reviewing and improving the operational practices, as well as the caring service continuum to achieve optimal, enhanced outcomes are the only viable option. Already, the complexities of the government policy changes, together with constant movements and new operators moving in the market, put added pressure on the providers operating in the sector. Prudent inancial management, eficient operations and delivery of high quality care will be the way ahead for MACS. As of now, the existing physical space within MACS’ site has been fully and mathematically taken up. What will happen with constant increases and/ or changes of aged care needs to its target population in the 89 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


region? The need to seriously think about regionally based future facilities and service developments is inescapable. The resource and infra-structure complexity implications are, of course, monumental. With MACS, there is no growth for growth’s sake. The needs and wants of its people have always been the driving force and determining factor of all undertakings to date. This will continue to be so in the years to come. MACS has never had it easy in the past and cannot be cowered by challenges of future developments. Such developments can occur within close proximity to MACS’ site, as well as in strategically placed locations of the region. A future planning tool, a point of reference one could say, this challenge has to be taken up and seriously considered. The situation MACS inds itself in now is a far cry from the old days of the 1970s to 1990s. That was the time when specialist providers working in the migrant sector had to constantly ight the uphill battle, the battle of survival. Consumed in and suffering from what one could call ‘the service provider deicit disorder syndrome’, these providers were always on the defensive, on the back foot. Rather than arguing their rightful existence and legitimacy on the strength and effectiveness of their performance, they argued their case on the basis of supporting a disadvantaged sector of the community. A sector, whose members were marginalised, disenfranchised. Those providers and their community sector were constantly left on the periphery of the publically funded community services loop. In the end this negative denominator - disadvantage, difference and marginalisation - came to be identiied with and characterised the very core value and essence of ethno-speciic, multicultural providers. The conidence came later, on the strength of their service provision outcomes. Not surprisingly to providers working in the migrant sector, their service outcomes were superior, both quantitatively and qualitatively, to the results achieved by their counterparts in the mainstream sector. After all, those providers could not be considered marginal, peripheral, or ‘wasters’ of public resources. They represented and serviced a substantive sector of the community whose CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) descent, across the board, represented 20 to 25% of the nation’s population. A dynamic, progressive organisation, MACS looks to the future with a degree of justiied, measured conidence. Its learnings on the ground, strengthened by an all-empowering vision, have been innumerable and of immense value. It now has a strong, consolidated experience, unsurpassed expertise in cultural diversity service provision, with a professional credibility publically scrutinised, assessed and afirmed. 90 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

Gone are the self- doubts, uncertainties and insecurities of the past. Instead, there is conidence in aged care, there is conidence in itself, in the way MACS conducts its business. The future is a promise to come.


CHAPTER THIRTEEN

MACS and the Community 1. Community Connectedness The inherent strength that nurtured, guided and launched MACS to the phenomenal success achieved to date is a simple, but powerful fact. MACS was born of diverse ethnic groups, of the entire region’s collective migrant community, belonged to and functioned for its community. With twenty years of operating in the ield, it grew with conidence and maturity, now being a general, all-inclusive aged care service provider. In the early years, the support was of a moral and material nature, outside the physical site of MACS. There were letters of support for the original hostel project, donations from individuals and individual community fundraising functions. Different community groups were also collectively organizing fundraising events, with a strong, continuous interest shown in the progress of the hostel project. As the hostel project started to physically materialise, the interest, support and connectedness of the migrant groups grew stronger. Once operational, MACS’ connection to its community could have easily come to a critical and challenging point: the physical building was there and the elderly in the facility were being looked after well, what else was there for the community to do and why? Neither the Board, nor its CEO, Joy Leggo, ever saw it that way. MACS would never be an institution. It would be a family connected to its community. For migrants, ongoing social interaction, community belonging, being linked to their respective community’s social, spiritual, recreational and tradition- enriched activities, made life worth living. Joy Leggo ensured the residents maintained their social, cultural and spiritual links with the respective communities. Priests, cultural clubs, dance groups, service and social clubs, individual artists, were all invited to MACS. Individuals from different communities also started coming in of their own volution, visiting residents at MACS and offering social and emotional support. The community’s input in this respect is invaluable; its cultural contribution value cannot be measured or substituted. It is simply priceless. Through the involvement and regular participation of individuals and groups, MACS’ links with the community are strong and continuous. From the very beginning, the social, recreational, lifestyle programs offered by

MACS have been complemented and enhanced by the communities. Depending on the physical condition and health constraints of the residents, community interconnectedness is maintained in two ways: outings and arrangements to visit particular community events and functions are made for residents who are physically able to do so. For those who cannot leave the MACS premises, the community comes in, in the form and ways described. 2. Networking; professional relationships and involvement MACS has always had an active involvement and participation in regional and state-wide professional associations and sector structures. This mainly occurs through its senior management, especially the CEO. CEO Joy Leggo is a well-respected leading executive in the aged care sector, participating in local and regional networks. A couple of her most notable involvements include: - Council member, Ministerial Multicultural Human Services Council (Department of Human services), 1996-99 - Chairman, Victorian Association of Health and Aged Care Barwon Region), 2000-06 Joy Leggo has participated in many regional consultations, and held numerous senior positions with local health and aged care networks. Other senior staff at MACS also get involved in appropriate networks and projects as required. Karin Bauer, for example has the following involvement: - Member (by departmental invitation), LASA - Leading Aged Services Australia, Community Taskforce, 2007 - current - LASA, Consumer Directed Care (CDC) Task Force, 2010 - current - CDC Pilot Scheme, 2011 -12 - Treasurer, Dementia Agency Network Group, Barwon Region, 2004 - current

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MACS has an extensive association with local, regional and national bodies in the wider health and aged care sector, with a very select, indicative listing of which is provided here: - Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing - Alzheimer’s Australia - Barwon Health, Geelong - Barwon South West Region Palliative Care Link 3. Distinctions, practice recognition and national awards MACS’ operations, its service delivery practices and quality of care have been widely acknowledged in the industry at the state and national levels. In addition to being shortlisted in a number of Federal Government awards, it has received the following formal awards and recognitions: • Winner, Excellence within Aged Care Services Award, Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing, 2014 (national) • Better Practice Award, Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency, 2011 (national) • High Commendation, Employer of Choice Awards, Aged Care Association Australia, 2011 (state) • Meritorious Service in the Community, Victoria’s Awards for Excellence in Multicultural Affairs, Victorian Multicultural Commission, 2002 (State)

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PART FIVE

Documents


Selected Documents (i) The early days, Hostel Committee meetings

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Selected Documents (ii) Geelong Regional Commission, pre-construction hostel project involvement

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Selected Documents (iii) City of Greater Geelong, Planning Permit for original 40 bed hostel facility; timeframe for new building redevelopment (purchase of land & Planning Permit)

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Selected Documents (iv) MACS Care and culture of caring, feedback from residents, family and outside observers

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Selected Documents (v) MACS Community Aged Care Packages Services (CACPS), observations of MACS CEO and DOC on the implementation of the new CACPS community based services; local media promotion and commentary on the high care facility, Mary Costa House, launch of Public Appeal and Oficial Opening

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Selected Documents (vi) MACS 2013 Cultural Diversity Report; QUT MACS Board and Chairman performance evaluation

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Selected Documents (vi) MACS 2013 Cultural Diversity Report; QUT MACS Board and Chairman performance evaluation

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Selected Documents (vii) MACS evolution of site plans, 2001-2010

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Selected Documents (viii) Public Appeals, irst and second, contribution lists

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Photographs

Mr John Sullivan, Manager Charitable Trusts, Perpetual Trustees Victoria, presenting Mr Frand De Stefano, Chairman of the Geelong Multicultural Hostel Project with a cheque for $25,000.

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PART SIX

Full listing of Board and Committee memberships


GMH Foundation members

2004 - 2007

1. Boards of Management (from 1994 to 2005); Board of Directors, 2006 - current (October, 2014)

Grazia Shrimpton Jordan Mavros John Saija John Macarol Slobodan Mirkovic Gael Perry Gerald De Stefano Josie Hernandez Michael Meagher Robert Holzer

1994 - 1995

2007 - current

The following individuals were the founding members of the Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc. in May, 1994 when it started its operations: Frank De Stefano George Ballas Srechko Kontelj

Frank De Stefano George Ballas Slobodan Mirkovic Joe Pavlovic Srechko Kontelj Barbara Abley Jordan Mavros

Joe Pavlovic Stan Mirkovic Jordan Mavros

Chairman Public Oficer Treasurer to November 1994

1995 - 2000 Frank De Stefano Srechko Kontelj George Ballas Slobodan Mirkovic Barbara Abley Grazia Shrimpton Jordan Mavros Joy Leggo

Chairman Vice-Chairman, 1997 Treasurer

Deputy Chairman 1998 Public Oficer, non-voting, 1995-current

2000 - 2001 Srechko Kontelj Grazia Shrimpton George Ballas Slobodan Mirkovic Barbara Abley Jordan Mavros

Chairman, June 2001 Deputy Chairman, 1997 Treasurer

John Macarol Gael Perry Gerald De Stefano Michael Meagher Robert Holzer Slobodan Mirkovic Garry Kovacs Spiro Fatouros

to March 2005 from 2005 from 2007

Chairman Deputy Chairman until 2012, retired 2013 Treasurer, 2006

Deputy Chairman, 2012 retired 2010 2010-2013 from 2013

2. Board Committees (Executive Committee; Finance and Audit Committee; Quality Forum Committee; Governance Committee; Foundation Committee; Risk & Compliance Committee) Board resolution for the establishment of SubCommittees In its 19th December, 1995 meeting the Board of Management of GMH, following extensive discussion on the matter, resolved to establish the following Committees: Finance Sub-Committee George Ballas, Srechko Kontelj, Barbara Abley House and Grounds Sub-Committee Slobodan Mirkovic, Jordan Mavros (1995-98)

2001 - 2004 George Ballas Grazia Shrimpton Dino Skoblar Slobodan Mirkovic Barbara Abley Gael Perry Gerald De Stefano Josie Hernandez Jordan Mavros

Jordan Mavros Grazia Shrimpton

Chairman Deputy Chairman, 2005/6 Treasurer, 2006 Treasurer, 2006 Deputy Chairman, 2004

Chairman, to April 2004 Deputy Chairman, 2003 Treasurer, 2004/5

from 2002 from 2002 from 2003

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Resident Issues Frank De Stefano, Grazia Shrimpton (1995-98) Executive Committee Ofice Bearers (Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Treasurer; Barbara Abley was also appointed to the Executive Committee in 1999) It appears that recorded documentation of Executive Committee meetings exists from 1999 to the end of 2002. No further meeting were held since.


Executive Committee 1999 - 2002

Finance Sub-Committee 1995 - 1999

Frank De Stefano, 1999-2000 George Ballas Srechko Kontelj Barbara Abley Grazia Shrimpton

George Ballas Srechko Kontelj Barbara Abley

Quality 2002 - current

Elder Abuse 2006 - 2007

Gael Perry, Chair Resident, family and staff representatives Grazia Shrimpton, 2009-2011 Garry Kovacks, 2010-2013

Jordan Mavros Joy Leggo, CEO Brenda Harrison

Disaster Planning 2006 - 2007

Finance & Audit 2007 - current

Joy Leggo, CEO Gerald De Stefano

John Macarol, Chairman Grazia Shrimpton, to October 2013 Jordan Mavros Robert Holzer, 2010-2013 Michael Meagher, 2010-2012 Joy Leggo, CEO Chris Hudgell, Business Manager

Foundation 2008 - current

Risk & Compliance 2011 - current

Robert Holzer, Chair Grazia Shrimpton, to October 3013 Joy Leggo, CEO Catriona Ainsworth, Com/ty Relations Manager Maria Hamilton, Volunteer

Gerald De Stefano, Chair Garry Kovacks, Chair from 2012 Michael Meagher, from October

CEO Remuneration & Review - Governance 2007 - current Jordan Mavros, Chair to 2011 Michael Meagher, Chair from October 2011 Robert Holzer, to 2010 Gael Perry, 2010

3. Fundraising, Public Appeal Committees First Appeal Committee March 1993 - July 1995 Frank Costa, Chairman Joe Pavlovic George Ballas Slobodan Mirkovic Jordan Mavros Chris Niblett, architect Jan Lancaster, Administration Support, from January 1994 Joy Leggo, EO, May 1994

The following individuals were also brought in to the Committee in 1994: Ken Jarvis, Peter Hudson, Robert Riordan, Kevin Roache and Joe Cordone Second Appeal Committee June 2003 - October 2004 Fred Freijah, Chairman George Ballas Slobodan Mirkovic Jordan Mavros Joy Leggo, CEO David Collins Robert Riordan Ahmed Elzahbi

The Committee was generously assisted in its fundraising efforts, at different times, by Barry Fagg, Daryl McLure, Terry Tayler, Peter Hudson and Frank Costa. 2013 - current (Third Appeal Committee) The third round of MACS’ public fundraising commenced well before its Appeal Launch on 17th June, 2014. As soon as MACS received the good news from the Department of Health and Ageing in December, 2011 about its successful ZRIL application, it started working full steam on raising $1 million. MACS’ Foundation Committee (Bob Holzer, Chairman, Grazia Shrimpton, Joy Leggo, CEO, Catriona Ainsworth, Community Relations Manager and Maria Hamilton, volunteer) began to develop a fundraising strategy. The strategy included all the promotional material, lists of individual and business donors, as well as trusts and charitable institutions. Together with the Foundation Committee, all Directors (Gerald De Stefano, John Macarol, Gael Perry, Michael Meagher, Garry Kovacs and Jordan Mavros) also became involved. Frank Costa was approached and accepted the position of Chairman of MACS’ Public Appeal. While the amount of funds to be raised was revised 113 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


to $2 million, the Appeal is currently progressing very strongly, well half way through its new target. The bulk of all internal administrative work, including submissions to trusts and charities, has been most ably carried out by Catriona Ainsworth, Community Relations Manager. 4. Building Committees Mary Costa House Building Control Group November 2001 - December 2003 George Ballas Slobodan Mirkovic Joy Leggo, CEO Linda Rizzi, Residential Care Coordinator Leigh Dicker, Architect Firm Representative Noel Bradbury, Architect Firm Representative Bella Chara Building Control Group May 2008 - July 2009 Slobodan Mirkovic Joy Leggo, CEO Alwin Gallina, Director of Care Des Rix, Builder

ZRIL Project Re-developments June, 2012 - May, 2015 Building works on the ZRIL project started in June, 2012. The expected completion date is May, 2015. This will inally see the Dementia Speciic re-coniguration at the Borrela House bring the entire four stages of the project to a full close. Upon the signing of the Building Contract in May, 2012 Alwin Gallina was formally appointed as the Project Manager on behalf of MACS (proprietor). Joy Leggo, CEO, and MACS senior managers, especially Jan Braddy, WH&S and Vera Luczo, Environmental Services Manager, have been providing regular input, advice and support throughout the project’s progress works.

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Postscript This book has been about providing a somewhat detailed narrative of MACS’s history to date. Important as this is, however, what must never be lost sight of is the fact that MACS is primarily about people. “We exist because of youresidents, families, relatives, friends”. MACS is also about care, and care givers - management, staff, volunteers and supporters in the community. Dignity and respect deine our humanity and must be accorded to everyone. This sacrosanct value characterises the conduct and the discharge of responsibilities of everyone involved in the caring continuum at the MACS family. The all life-sustaining and life-enhancing humanity comes from great suffering. Theirs, of the irst generation post-World War II migrants came, in the majority of cases, from their experiences in the countries of origin during the dreadful war years and its aftermath. Yet, that suffering was further exacerbated by the culture shock, their social isolation, alienation and cultural dislocation experienced here in the host country. Certainly, community attitudes to migrants, then, were quite harsh and confronting. Today, we reap the beneits of their suffering. For those who are in the care of MACS, we owe it to them to do our very best, with no exception, qualiication or compromise. The majority of the current building re-development works is coming to a full completion. With the fundraising progressing extremely satisfactorily, and the technical plans being inalised, all augers well, too, for the successful conclusion of the dementia speciic service. This inal part of the re-development is expected to be in place not too far away, just some seven to eight months’ time from now. Then, MACS can be deservedly proud, conident and reassured in the knowledge that it truly is a fully integrated, complementary, professional, irst-class aged care service provider in the Greater Geelong Region. MACS’ has being an arduous, challenging journey over the past twenty years, and most certainly during the earlier times, leading up to the period of its establishment. The learnings, the experience and expertise acquired along the way, together with the steady and solid development of the organisation, unmistakably justiied the vision of its pioneers of the mid-1980s. The achievements of MACS to date, by any measure, are nothing short of a triumphant vindication of the dream, passionately and vigorously advocated for at the time, that is, to look after those who could not look after themselves. As for the future, what will be the situation with MACS in the next twenty or so years’ time? What will the aged care needs of the CALD residents in the region be like; will they differ from the current ones? Will there be a need for a multicultural aged care service provider in the region? Further, what would be the government’s prevalent aged care policies and their respective impact on MACS, operationally and inancially? How will the organisation respond to substantial challenges? Whatever the answer to these questions, gazing at the crystal ball does not have to be a daunting experience. One can only take heart from MACS’ track record, its robust organisational structure and operational effectiveness, integrally solidiied and reinforced by a philosophical orientation, an inspiring allencompassing, inclusive and all-accepting culture of caring. September, 2014

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Appendices


APPENDIX ONE - 1981 & 1986 Census statistics, NESB (non-English speaking background) population, Greater Geelong-Barwon Region

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APPENDIX TWO - Extracts, the Galbally Report, recommendations for the establishment of Migrant Resource Centres and ethno-speciic aged care facilities

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APPENDIX THREE - Geelong Ethnic Communities Council (GECC), 1987/88 HACC Demonstration Project, statistical analysis and surveys relating to hostel accommodation and aged care needs of migrant elderly in the Barwon region

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APPENDIX FOUR - Letters of Support, sample, for GECC’s 40 bed multicultural project

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APPENDIX FIVE - Shire of Corio, refusal to provide land for GECC’s hostel project

APPENDIX SIX - GECC’s request to local councils for inancial contribution towards purchase of land for the hostel project

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APPENDIX SEVEN - City of Geelong’s offer of land for the hostel project

APPENDIX EIGHT - GECC’s request to local councils for inancial support towards construction costs of the hostel project

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APPENDIX NINE - GECC’s request to Department of Community Services and Health (DCSH), and approval thereof, for extension of commencement of hostel project

APPENDIX TEN - Release of funds by DCSH, Approval in Principle Agreement, for GECC’s 40 bed multicultural hostel project

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APPENDIX ELEVEN - Health Department of Victoria, recommendation to GECC to engage an architectural irm for the development of the hostel’s sketch plans

APPENDIX TWELVE - 4th January 1993, signing of Hostel Building Contact with E. J. Lyons & Sons

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APPENDIX THIRTEEN - Public Appeal launch, October 1993

APPENDIX FOURTEEN - MACS CEO announcement to staff, approval of 30 high care beds

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References 1

2

Multicultural Action Plan, 2011-2014, City of Greater Geelong Galbally Report, s8,20, page 101

3

GEEC, 1983 and 1986 Annual Reports

4

GECC, 1983 Annual Report, page10

5

GECC,1987 Annual Report, page 8

6

GMRC, Survey of Accommodation Care for the Ethnic Aged in Geelong: Existing facilities and unmet needs,1986

7

GECC, HACC Demonstration Project, 1988

8

EO’s Report, GMH Board Meeting Minutes, 15th March,1994

9

Geelong Multicultural Hostel Inc., Annual Report, 1994/95, EO’s Report

10

GMH, EO’s Report, Board Meeting, August 1994

11

MACS CEO Brieing Paper on ‘Aging in Place’, January 2000

12

MACS, Archival materials, 1997/98

13

GMH, EO’s Report, Board Meeting, March 1996

14

GMH, Board Meeting, May, 1997

15

MACS archival materials, 1998

16

MACS, Board Meetings Archives, April 2000

17

MACS, Strategic Plan, 2006-2009

18

Joy Leggo, SRS Paper, 21st February 2007

19

MACS Extraordinary Meeting, 12th May, 2010

20

Karen Bauer, MACS Brokered Service, Business Plan, November 2012

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Glossary of key concepts and acronyms NESB: Non-English speaking background (NESB); CALD: Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background. The terms refer, invariably, to migrants, or to people of migrant backgrounds. In the late 1940s to the 1950s, the term ‘new Australians’ was widely used, then ‘migrants’ replaced it. From the 1970s to the early 2000s, a more sanitised, government and public service sanctioned term, NESB, was formally adopted and used. From the early 2000s onwards, the ‘NESB’ term was replaced by ‘CALD’ to denote persons of a different background other than Anglo-Saxon, even if they were English language speakers. MACS: Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc. COGG: City of Greater Geelong GECC: Geelong Ethnic Communities Council, the parent organisation that undertook the background work and established the Geelong Multicultural Hostel (GMH) in 1994, which then changed its name formally to Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong (MACS) in 1998. Nowadays, The GECC operates under its trading name of “Diversitat”, formally adopted in January, 2005. GMRC: Geelong Migrant Resource Centre; managed and administered by the GECC. The national Migrant Resource Centres program was introduced by the Federal Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs in the late 1970s, following the outcomes of the ‘Review of Post-arrival Programs and Services for Migrants’, the Galbally Report, in 1978. HACC program: Home and Community Care, the lowest level of care provided to eligible elderly and individuals with disabilities. Jointly funded by the Federal and State governments; administered and monitored by the State Governments. From July 1st, 2012 the HACC national program is to be entirely inanced, administered and monitored by the Federal Government. To date, Victoria is yet to inalise its HACC program transfer to the Federal Government. CACPS: Community Aged Care Packages; EACH: Extended Aged Care at Home; EACH Dementia: Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia. CDCs: Consumer Directed Care packages. Home based aged care packages funded, administered and regulated by the Federal Department of Health and Aging. The range 128 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

of packages services are delivered by the not-for-proit, community based organisations, local government and private, for proit entities. SRS: Supported Residential Services. SRSs are State Government regulated residential aged care facilities (Special Accommodation Houses of the 1970s-1980s), based and operated in the State of Victoria. NDIS: National Disability Insurance Scheme (also known as Disability Care Australia). Introduced by the Gillard Labor Government, the NDIS Act was legislated on 28th March, 2013 and became operational from July 1st, 2013. A long awaited and overdue scheme, the NDIS provides a national framework of comprehensive, integrated support for people with disabilities. Despite improvements that have taken place recently, it still remains somewhat unyielding and confusing, as its inancial and operational details have not been ironed out and inalised, as yet. White Australia policy: Formal Australian government policy promoting, pursuing and favouring intake of white migrants, especially of Anglo-European stock. The policy was designed to prohibit the immigration of any non-white people to Australia. Following Australia’s federation, it was introduced by the Federal Parliament through the passage of The Immigration Restriction Act 1901. Its unravelling started in 1949 and was formally dismantled in 1973. Assimilationism; Assimilation, Policy of: Australian Government oficial policy from the 1930s to 1970s. It was primarily and strictly introduced for the Australian Aborigines with the intent of making them live like the whites, absorbing them into society’s mainstream way of living and forcing them to accept the values and normative behaviour of white society in Australia. Along the way, it inlicted untold, irreparable harm, devastation and destruction to Australia’s indigenous peoples. In relation to migrants and refugees residing permanently in Australia, the policy of assimilation - when transformed from the service planning and programmatic levels into implementation, service delivery and practice stages, within the public service sector and general community services - brought about indescribable social, psychological and cultural dislocation damages. It practically requested of them to reject and deny their past, their heritage and tradition, demanding that


they forget their language and speak English only. The expectation was ‘become an Australian, become like one of us, accept our values and ways, speak our language, or else you are not welcome’. The wash-up of the policy at the community level was crystallised in the infamous crude articulation of “speak English or go back to where you came from”. At the level of provision of services and meeting basic social, educational, health, income support and legal needs, migrants and their respective communities were almost totally locked out of the access to, and utilisation of, services and resources loop due to cultural, attitudinal and language factors. The policy of assimilation was formally abandoned by the Government in the late 1970s. Social justice; Access and equity: The essential principle, the foundation which guides the provision of services and resources by all sectors of government in Australia – Federal, State and Local – is, and certainly ought to be, based upon the principle of social justice. It provides the philosophical, moral, humane and orderly framework within which the concerns, needs and aspirations of people in a community, and the wider society, can be met. Within the Australian context, social justice in its application entails the concept and every day practice of access and equity. That is goods, services and resources must not only be available, but also accessible, distributed to and utilised by all members and sectors of a community in an equitable manner, irrespective of their linguistic or cultural background, socio-economic status or physical attributes. The policies of social justice, and access and equity, in their general application, were introduced with the aim of rectifying the imbalance and power differential for, and addressing the needs of, speciic disenfranchised, vulnerable and marginalised groups and individuals in society, including migrants, the elderly, women, the unemployed and people with disabilities. Multiculturalism, cultural diversity, Policy of: Implemented in the 1980s, the policy of multiculturalism or cultural diversity, inter-changeably used, acknowledges the reality of, recognises and gives credence to, people’s cultural and linguistic difference and diversity, accepting them as legitimate modes of being and existence. It validates people’s heritages, traditions and values, to the extent that they in turn do not exclude or negate others, and operating within Australian society’s overall framework of equality before the law and commonly shared rights and responsibilities. The policy supports the rights of all to celebrate, practise and maintain their cultural traditions, and language, within the law, and free from discrimination or victimisation. Multiculturalism strengthens social cohesion through promoting belonging, respecting diversity and fostering involvement in and engagement with Australian civic life, values, identity and citizenship.

It enriches the social, cultural, artistic, entrepreneurial and overall human capital of Australian society, giving the nation an enhanced, competitive advantage on the world stage. The two key pillars of multiculturalism are social justice, and access and equity. Mainstreaming: Policy of the Australian Government introduced and operated during the early to mid-1990s. A reaction to the policy of multiculturalism, the policy advocated the principle and practice of ‘one size its all’, of a uniform provision and standardised service to all sectors of the community. With respect to the migrant sector, it went against the policy and practice of specialist, ethno-speciic providers addressing the needs of their constituents. In doing so, the policy very much undermined and eroded the principles and values of social justice, access and equity. Despite the rhetoric and feeble attempts by the Government and public service, any policy intents of ‘mainstreaming’ on cultural awareness and sensitivity never translated into practical measures, operational programs and practice outcomes. If anything, the policy of ‘mainstreaming’ widened the social welfare divide between the general community and migrants: the individuals or sectors of society, who were well established, fully familiar with the socio-political system and its operation, being able to articulate their concerns and needs effectively and forcefully, always got the biggest slice of the pie. Migrants kept being left behind and missing out on inite, public purse resources. The ethno-speciic, multiethnic or multicultural services were born out of sheer necessity and despair experienced by the migrant communities. There was no other option left to them, as the social welfare needs of their members were grossly overlooked, ignored and disregarded. Ethnospeciic agencies, due to their cultural, attitudinal and normative expertise, awareness and full knowledge of their constituent groups, achieved maximum outcomes with limited resources at their disposal. They bridged the gap in the service continuum and complemented the existing, generalist community services. Today, a number of them have established robust organisational and operational infra-structures rivalling, if not exceeding, the professionalism, effectiveness and programmatic competency of well-known church based and other not for proit organisations in the general community.

129 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


Bibliography Annual Reports and Archival Materials GECC Multicultural Hostel Project archives, 1988 1994 GECC Annual Reports, 1980 - 2005 GMH/ MACS Annual Reports, 1994 - 2013 Geelong Advertiser, 1988-1993, select issues and editions

Surveys, Reports, Policy Documents, Plans The Galbally Report, AGPS, 1978 COGG, 2010-14 Multicultural Plan Corio Shire, Ethnic Affairs Policy, 1993 Frank Campbell, Survey of needs of Croatian Elderly, 1979/80, GECC 1980 Dutch Elderly Accommodation Needs Survey, GMRC 1985 Survey of Accommodation Care for the Ethnic Aged in Geelong: Existing facilities and unmet needs, GMRC 1986 Alan Cobham, The Ethnic Community – A Proile of Disabilities – Barwon Region, HACC Demonstration Project, GECC 1988 MACS Board Minutes, March 1994 - August 2014 MACS Archival Materials, 1994 - 2014 Minerva Consultants, MACS House SRS Feasibility Study, April 2007

130 A history of Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.


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To look after those who could not look after themselves  

A complete 20 Year History of Multi Cultural Aged Care Services Geelong (MACS).

To look after those who could not look after themselves  

A complete 20 Year History of Multi Cultural Aged Care Services Geelong (MACS).

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