The future of the 40-bed aged care home in the regional Victorian town of Murchison continues to hang in the balance 12 months on from its closure.
As we reported here last October, the Department of Health had allocated at least $564,000 since November 2019 – around $56,000 a month – to keep open the doors of the aged care home, despite the facility closing its doors in February 2020.
The Department of Health has confirmed to us that it has continued to cover the costs of maintaining the home since last February as COVID-19 has impacted the ability to finalise the sale process.
“The majority of funding provided relates to costs incurred while residents were in care,” it said.
Local news outlets are reporting that the liquidator SV Partners has decided to sell the 38 Impey St site to realise the assets of DP Jones and Neighbourhood House – and the Greater Shepparton City Council has been asked to consider buying the facility.
Federal MP pushing for Council to step in
Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum told the local paper the next step is for the Council to make a decision.
“The Department of Health has done work looking into how it can keep DP Jones open and there was interest from different providers,” he said.
“This takes it out of the hands of the liquidator and would pay off the debt owed to creditors.”
“Once Greater Shepparton City Council purchases the facility they would then move forward with finding an aged care provider.”
A Council spokesperson said council was not in a position to comment. Given SV Partners told us last year that the facility’s debts totalled $3 to $4 million, a purchase would understandably be a big commitment.
However, Mr Drum said the Murchison community had always remained committed to an operating aged care home, which had been one of the town’s largest employers.
“Back in the 1970s the community spent years fundraising to establish DP Jones; many of the community leaders from that era have now found themselves in a situation when they need DP Jones,” he said.
“Murchison has made it clear how important DP Jones is to the community.”
We contacted Liquidator SV Partners for comment, but had not received a response by the time of publication.