Member for Bellarine and Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville, has welcomed the release of the much awaited review into Bellarine Community Health (BCH), but has labelled its findings “damning” of the organisation.

The review fulfils a 2014 election commitment of the Andrews Government after there had been widespread and growing public discontent about the operation of BCH.

Ms Neville said “that the report is damning and justifies the community concern and anger that has been expressed over the last two years.”

She said “the report clearly identifies that the local community were lied to by the organisation and that it lacked any engagement or accountability back to the community.”

“The report highlighted claims by BCH that they were supposedly consulting with the community, exposing these claims as dressed up and in fact that they were far from engaging appropriately” , she added.

“As a State Government Minister and the local Member I have been seriously concerned about the lack of engagement and the deterioration in community confidence. There is clearly deep and wide public dissatisfaction with the organisation”, Ms Neville said.

“And the lack of engagement seriously puts in question some of their decisions, including the sale of Ann Nichol House, and whether they really represented the needs and best interests of the local community”, she added.

Ms Neville said that her comments were in no way directed at the day to day operational staff of the organisation who do a wonderful job.

Under the current structure the government cannot remove the Board of BCH or put in place an administrator. However it will:

A. Put in place a monitoring regime to ensure that the organisation makes the changes necessary to properly engage with the community and ensure their accountability. The Government will monitor whether they can           rebuild community confidence.
B. Establish a health needs/ service review to ensure the needs of the local community are being met and understood and what model these services should be delivered with.
C. Leave open the option of identifying another provider of our funded health services if changes are not made by BCH and if the community continue to lack confidence in the organisation.

“This report confirms what locals have been saying to me for the last two years. There has been a serious failure on the part of Bellarine Community Health and the organisation now has a lot of work to do to rebuild community confidence”, Ms Neville concluded.

MEDIA CONTACT: Electorate Office: 5248 3462
Email: lisa.neville@parliament.vic.gov.au