13 December, 2022
Donna’s ambition - making our elderly and in care feel at home
Feeling at home and valued where you live is all you can ask for, and that’s exactly what the new Director of Aged Care and Disabilities at Gilgandra Shire Council, wants for her clients.
Donna Dobson stepped into the position back in
August, after a council organisational restructure created
the new role. Originally titled Director of
Community Services, the job is now focused primarily
on aged and disability services in Gilgandra.
“My role is to advocate for our aged and disability
services in the council, to make sure we are compliant
to legislative requirements, and to lead the aged and disability
teams to deliver our best practice and outcomes,
that are beneficial to the clients in our care,” Mrs
A typical workday for Mrs Dobson can vary from
cups of tea with clients, to liaising with members of parliament
to raise matters of concern. Mrs Dobson understands
the communities concerns, and assures she is
doing everything she can to ensure the best care possible.
Across the health industry many regional communities
are facing the same challenges in recruiting staff.
“We’re trying to be very creative about how we
engage staff,” she said.
“Things like housing and schooling are definitely an
issue for us, it’s impacting on our ability to attract workers.
“So we’re working across the board with the council,
and both state and federal governments, on some of
those things. We’re looking at immigration, scholarships,
looking for opportunities to find grant funding
that might assist to attract staff.”
However, she said, things are looking up a touch for
the aged and disability sector in Gilgandra Shire.
“We have managed recently to attract two senior
staff specifically for Cooee Lodge Hostel in the last few
weeks. My goal is to make age and disability in
Gilgandra, the employer-of-choice; I want to ensure we
have well-functioning teams so people want to work for
us. So, we’re looking at how we do that, and what may
attract people to the industry,” she said.
The council, she said, is doing its best in a field with
serious labour shortages and heavy-compliance requirements
“We need to be competitive in the market, and that is
definitely a difficulty because we’re not a very wellfunded
area, particularly aged care.
“There’s a lot of governance around how we spend
funds, so we have to be cautious to be competitive,” she
Mrs Dobson understands that we all have parents,
grandparents, and loved ones that are important to us
and just how pinnacle their care is.
“They’re so important, it shows the compassionate
side of our society, not just aged people, but people with
disabilities as well. It’s important to have services that
support people, no matter where they are in life,” she
“The most rewarding thing for me, is when somebody
in our services refers to the service that they
receive, whether it’s in a residential setting, group
home, meals on wheels etc, that they feel valued.”
“And when a resident or a client, patient, consumer,
etc, says they feel like they’re ‘home’ in this service —
then that, to me, I feel like we’ve done a good job.”
She also welcomes open discussions and encourages
anyone in the community with ideas, concerns, or
issues, to come and say “hello”.
“I certainly don’t want to be behind a closed door,” Mrs Dobson concluded.