Victorian not-for-profit provider, Benetas, has gained planning approval for the New Oaks residential aged care facility, after extensive consultation with Council and local community on a design that aligned with the proposed Gisborne Futures Plan and the town’s Village in the Valley feel.
The New Oaks will accommodate residents over two floors, modified from the original design proposal of three floors. The final design will incorporate future-proofing elements to allow for an increase in beds if demand dictates in the longer term.
The design is also consistent with the Federal Government’s policy and budget response to the findings of the Aged Care Royal Commission, with a range of measures aimed at prioritising greater consumer choice and a shift towards smaller residential aged care homes.
This includes substantial public funding for more home care packages designed to encourage older people to live independently in their own homes or in retirement living settings for longer.
Benetas CEO, Sandra Hills OAM, described the Council’s decision to back the development of the New Oaks residential aged care home “as a significant win” for the Macedon Ranges community.
“The local population is forecast to grow 40 per cent over the next 15 years, including a doubling in the next decade of people aged 80-plus,” she said.
“The residential aged care home, in conjunction with the integrated retirement living complex and adjacent MRH centre, will play a critical role in meeting the changing needs of the Macedon Ranges community.
Ms Hills said that Benetas remained committed to the $60 million investment promise made at the time of the amalgamation between Benetas and Macedon Ranges Health, which received overwhelming support from its members and the broader community.
“We’ll actively monitor local demand for aged care services over the short and long term to guide how we deploy our funding promise across the residential aged care, retirement living and MRH health precinct,” she said.
“In doing so, we will enable people to age in one place, providing a continuum of care and services in co-located, integrated facilities, and a level of care that our elderly members of the community and their families need and deserve.”
A detailed design for the New Oaks residential aged care home is now to be developed, with construction expected to begin in the middle of next year. Residents of Benetas’ existing facility in Gisborne will relocate to the New Oaks, which is anticipated to be completed in late 2023.
Benetas has also submitted planning and re-zoning applications for the retirement living development, which forms part of the proposed Gisborne Residential Aged Care and Retirement Living precinct.
This requires State Government approval for the rezoning application, and Council approval for the proposed design which includes the construction of up to 80 architecturally designed, six-star energy rated units centred around a community hub.
The project is expected to create up to 150 jobs during construction and longer-term employment opportunities for up to 100 people, along with increased economic activity for local businesses and suppliers.
Ms Hills said it will transform aged care services and living for the local community, providing a highly-valued community asset for generations to come.