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Aged care services in happy merger

Thursday, 4th April, 2019

Far West HACC and LiveBetter celebrated their official merger yesterday morning at the North Mine Hall. PICTURE: Myles Burt Far West HACC and LiveBetter celebrated their official merger yesterday morning at the North Mine Hall. PICTURE: Myles Burt

By Myles Burt

The city’s renowned Far West HACC service has officially become part of a larger organisation, LiveBetter. 

HACC has been operating since 1988 and provided a range of services to the community including aged care. 

LiveBetter provides services in 50 locations nationally including disability and community services, preschools and aged care. 

Its Acting CEO Natalie Forsyth-Stock said FWHACC had very a similar culture and values.

“Far West HACC has a great reputation here in Broken Hill,” Ms Forsyth-Stock said, “so it makes sense for us to merge.”

LiveBetter aims to bring to the table new finance systems, processes, HR and a large back office through the merger with FWHACC. 

Ms Forsyth-Stock said she’s looking forward to incorporating around 21 local volunteers from HACC, some of whom have worked there for 28 years.

“I think it’s a great win for all of us because FWHACC has such a great volunteer base,” she said. “They seem to be very excited, which is good.

“A lot of services, community services in particular, are struggling at the moment as funding envelopes get tighter so I think they’re excited to be a part of a larger organisation that can potentially bring some more stability to them as well.”

Due to the merger, LiveBetter will now be serving Menindee, Wilcannia and White Cliffs. Ms Forsyth-Stock said they already provided services to Menindee and Silverton but the merger will now see LiveBetter gain a larger footprint in the Far West.

FWHACC chairperson Marion Browne said the two years it’s taken to finalise the merger has been long, but overall a great result for board members, employees, volunteers and clients.

“It took a while but we’re happy with the result,” Ms Browne said.

“There’s a lot of work in having this done. The last few months we’ve been having weekly phone conferences and, particularly between the staff, a lot of toing and froing.

“The staff have been involved right from the beginning; it hasn’t been presented to them as completed plan. They’ve been happy with every step that we’ve taken.

“If you are going to do something like this I think this is the best way to do it.

“The cultures do mesh and I think we’ve always felt that.”

Local input will still be involved, according to Ms Browne.

“We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on them, parts of the agreement are what we think are non-debatable.

“It’s a big thing to trust an organisation but it’s not just their words, it’s their actions in Broken Hill that so far have given us confidence.

“FWHACC itself isn’t winding up formally until the end of June, so FWHACC will still be there just the services will be part of LiveBetter.

“There will still be an association there for the next couple of months.”

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