CDCA - Exploring optons to keep Hazelwood House open

Despite this community’s best efforts to protest the closure of Hazelwood House, Benetas is pushing on with its plans to relocate Hazelwood House residents to Traralgon later this year.
The responsible Federal Department had already approved the transfer of ‘funded beds’ from Churchill to Traralgon before the closure announcement was made – it seems that, so long as the beds are retained within the same Local Government area, the Department allows the transfer.
Our Federal MP, Darren Chester, wrote to the responsible Federal Minister, advocating for this community to retain our Aged Care facility in Churchill, but did not receive a reply before the Federal election was announced.
Similarly, the Petition we prepared and which was signed by approx 750 local residents in a very short time was not able to be presented in Federal Parliament during Budget Week and now has to be kept on hold until the new Parliament takes office.
Copies of our Petition are still available for signing at either the Churchill Neighbourhood Centre at the Churchill Hub or at Russell Northe’s office in George St., Morwell.
Benetas owns Hazelwood House, but Latrobe City Council has “first right of refusal” on purchase – Council has made it clear that they cannot buy a vacant building in Churchill and are very displeased that this is the situation we now face.
It seems more and more likely that Churchill will be left with an abandoned building unless another provider willing to run the facility can be found.
Benetas has said that they will maintain the grounds of Hazelwood House once it is vacated and are willing to work with Latrobe City Council to find a solution to our problem - Council have put it to Benetas that they (Benetas) have a responsibility to find another provider to run the facility and not just walk away and leave us with an empty building.
It’s possible that another aged care provider might be interested in keeping Hazelwood House open. It’s also possible that, as a residential facility, it could be “re-purposed” for Palliative Care, Respite Care, Supported Accommodation or some other type of supervised care. Some communities even take on the mammoth task of operating their own aged care facility!
CDCA’s next meeting will be held on Tuesday June 11, commencing at 7.00 pm and we are inviting all interested locals to join us to explore options for retaining Hazelwood House as an occupied residential facility.
If there is sufficient interest, we propose to establish a Steering Committee of community members to further investigate options, work with Council to find another agency/provider, explore funding opportunities to keep Hazelwood House open and network with the wider Churchill and district community to ensure we do not end up with an abandoned and derelict building.
If you want to keep Hazelwood House open, occupied and servicing our community, please join us at 7pm on Tuesday June 11, in Meeting Room 5N158 at the Federation Uni Churchill Campus – enter Mary Grant Bruce Drive (opposite Kurnai College junior campus gate), turn right and park in N1 car-park – enter the 5N building and meeting room 158 will be on your right.
You can contact CDCA via our website - or email Find us on Facebook – search for Churchill District Community Association - and leave a message, or write to us at PO Box 191, Churchill.