Signature Care slows plans for Goulburn aged care home after Council denies relief on $1.8M fees – despite 97% occupancy in existing facilities

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Veteran aged care operator and CEO Graeme Croft tells us that the local Council is out of touch – and ignored the economic and social benefits the new facility will bring to the regional NSW town.

As we reported here, the operator announced it would build a $30 million 144-bed aged care home in Goulburn in April last year.

But when Signature lodged the DA, the Council proposed infrastructure charges of $1.8 million – higher than the fees for its other two 144-bed facilities being built in regional NSW – $1.2 million for its Wagga Wagga home and $1.1 million for Grafton.

“The infrastructure amount proposed by Goulburn was 50% higher than both Grafton and Wagga,” says Graeme. “We asked council to reconsider based on parity, and the considerable community benefits of our project. Council’s decision means this Goulburn project will not be given the priority we had planned.”

Interestingly in Maryborough in QLD where Signature is building another home, the local Council are offering a 50% reduction on infrastructure charges and they are fast-tracking that project.

Graeme also points out that there is a new hospital being built in Goulburn.

“2018/19 Government figures show Goulburn has 97% residential aged care occupancy and rapid growth of people 80+. If aged care is not provided soon, the hospital will be filled with medical patients.”  

Signature Care now has 16 aged care homes across Victoria, NSW, QLD and WA with their latest 144-bed Langwarrin home in outer Melbourne, 42km southeast of the CBD, due to open next month.

Croft is arguably the most experience private developer and operator in the sector with over 35 years’ experience. He and his family built Innovative Care from 2005 to sell its 10 homes to Bupa in November 2021 for $225 million.

Two more homes at Jimboomba and Narangba in QLD will both open in February 2021.

A sign that some operators are continuing to buck the trend and generate the profits to expand.

Pictured: Signature Care CEO Graeme Croft (pictured left) and Mayor Bob Kirk viewed plans of the proposed aged care home last year.

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About Author

Lauren is the Editor at DCM Group and has guided its range of media including The Weekly SOURCE, The Daily RESOURCE and The Donaldson Sisters since 2016. With 13 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and commentator, Lauren is the only journalist to have attended every session of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, producing 300 issues of the subscriber-only The Daily COMMISSION which offers exclusive insights and analysis of the issues surrounding the Royal Commission and the aged care sector.