Council facilitated the meeting last Monday following the sudden closure of the Churches of Christ (CoC) Inglewood Aged Care Service, known locally as Casa Mia, which left a number of residents having to source alternative living and care arrangements at short notice at the end of last year.
Around 110 people attended the meeting.
The newly-established eight-person committee includes medical professionals, former Casa Mia staff, family members of former Casa Mia residents, Council officers and other skilled professionals.
Council will now seek to bring the group together in the coming weeks to fine-tune the scope and purpose of the group, elect an executive, and work out the next steps going forward.
CoC Queensland currently holds a 30-year lease of the former Casa Mia site from the Queensland Government’s Department of Resources (DoR), with four years to go until the lease’s expiry in 2025.
While no CoC representatives attended the community meeting, the organisation confirmed via a written statement that it is continuing confidential discussions with the DoR regarding the future of the vacated Casa Mia facility.
Following Council’s enquiries about the future use of the leased land, it understands the State Government stipulates the site’s usage must be for the provision of aged care services only. The future of the lease is dependent on CoC Queensland, and Council understands that the following options are available: CoC could continue the lease, sell it, transfer it, or seek to renew it.
The steering committee will be working with experts and providers of aged care services to ensure that the Inglewood community is prepared for any of the above scenarios, and that the town has options available should the lease become available before its expiry in 2025.
Mayor of the Goondiwindi region, Lawrence Springborg AM thanked the Inglewood community for their support and persistence in securing aged care services for the town.
“More than 100 people including myself attended the community meeting, and I want to thank all those who came along with the shared goal of working together to get results for our community,” Cr Springborg said.
“While we were disappointed that representatives of CoC Queensland were not able to attend, Council appreciates their written statement,” he said.
“I’d also like to mention that Casa Mia provided aged care services to the Inglewood community for 25 years, and I’d like to thank them for that service on behalf of the many local families who benefitted from it.
“Unfortunately, the private lease of the former Casa Mia site is managed by the State Government and therefore outside of Council’s control. But we’ve had significant local sponsorship and support through the petition and, looking ahead now to the future, I am hopeful that the new steering committee will be ready with aged care options if and when the lease becomes available.”