Bureaucracy gone mad

John Mitchell, Kyneton

Far from being a council that is concerned with the aged and infirm, Macedon Ranges Shire seems intent on making life even more difficult for the elderly.
The scheme that enabled these people – myself included – to quickly and easily obtain coupons for assistance at home, such as lawn-mowing, wood stacking and gutter cleaning, has now become almost intolerable.
The coupons were easy. I would obtain one from council, give it to my service supplier, and he would complete the task and subsequently be reimbursed by the shire. I would pay the difference.
Now I must first ring the Commonwealth Home Support Program Home Maintenance Office and provide all sorts of personal details including medical history, marital status, age, and what is wrong with me, my carer’s details, etc. etc.
I then undergo a home assessment and if I pass and qualify for help, the system for getting this assistance is as follows:
I must select the service supplier from the shire’s list of pre-approved suppliers. I must then advise the shire of the service supplier I have chosen, and the date and time the work will be undertaken. The shire issues a purchase order together with work instructions and the number of hours that have been purchased. Upon completion of the task my service supplier issues an invoice to the shire. The shire contacts me to make certain the work was undertaken. Payment is made by the shire. I pay the difference. And there’s more bad news!
Previously, I gave my shire-provided coupon to the service provider and paid the difference – generally about $6.
Now I must pay $12.15, $14.55 or $21 – depending on my income.
Shame on you Macedon Ranges Shire. Your penny-pinching ways is bureaucracy gone mad.

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