Donnybrooks council sacks long-standing Tuia Lodge board

A CONTROVERSIAL Donnybrook council decision to sack the board of the long-standing Tuia Lodge Frail Aged Facility has upset a large number of community members who will demand answers at a meeting tonight. 

The Donnybrook-Balingup shire council withdrew all authority from the Tuia Lodge Committee at a meeting held on Thursday, November 19. 

The move followed an ongoing investigation into the 35-year-old organisation after complaints were lodged with the shire. 

In August this year, two carers at the facility provided a submission to the shire claiming unsafe work practices, repeated intimidation of staff and incorrect record keeping of work practices.

But in stark contrast, the lodge was recognised with a prestigious award for “most outstanding regional care provider” at the Australasian Over 50s Housing Awards in Melbourne on November 6. 

New shire president Angelo Logiudice said the board was stood down to allow council to fully review the management, operations and future direction of the facility. 

Since the decision, community members have erected several signs around town protesting the move. 

Donnybrook resident Anthony Haygarth said the disappointment stemmed from the fact that community volunteers had poured time and money into the facility over its 35 years of operation. 

“The facility has always been driven by the community and the board,” Mr Haygarth said. 

“Some businesses have poured 10's of 1000's of dollars into it across the years, which we see as a valuable community asset.”

Mr Haygarth said a petition would circulate the community today calling for the reinstatement of the board. 

 Mr Logiudice said the council will appoint an administrator to oversee the day-to-day operations and conduct an enquiry into a long list of allegations, including forgery of occupational health and safety reports, the supply of prescribed medication to residents by unqualified personnel and resident care.  

Mr Logiudice said while the delegated authority had been withdrawn for the investigation of the allegations, no one had been terminated. 

Former board chairman Lui Tuia declined to comment.

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