Provider enters liquidation

Gippsland mental health service provider Within Australia went into liquidation. image supplied

Michelle Slater

ABOUT 60 employees were made redundant on Friday after Gippsland mental health service provider Within Australia went into liquidation earlier this month.

Within Australia – formerly SNAP Gippsland – operated sites in Traralgon, Bairnsdale, Sale and Wonthaggi, delivering NDIS-based and mental health services to 380 people.

The community not-for-profit organisation was put into the hands of voluntary administrators Ernst and Young after it was resolved that Within Australia was insolvent, or likely to become insolvent.

A spokesperson for Ernst and Young said the majority of staff had their employment terminated on Friday.

“We have been providing support to the 60 staff in terms of assisting them to find alternative employment by arranging meetings with local employers,” the spokesperson said.

“[We have also been] arranging information sessions on how to continue providing support to participants and clients by setting up independently.”

The liquidation comes after Within Australia had failed to re-tender its services to the Gippsland Primary Health Network, as well as a period of “below budget financial performance”.

There were also a number of vacancies in “key revenue generating roles” such as counsellors.

Administrators had run an expression of interest process with 25 organisations, but were unable to secure a long-term future for Within Australia before it went into liquidation.

The spokesperson said administrators had been helping Primary Health Network clients to transition to a new service provider.

“We have been working with other providers of mental health support services to provide options to Within Australia participants and clients to find alternative suitable care arrangements,” the spokesperson said.

Ernst and Young administrator David Kennedy said minimising disruption for clients and participants was a “key priority for the management team at Within Australia and the administrators”.

“The administrators’ primary objective is to ensure continuation of support to participants and clients, and to secure a longer-term future of the organisation wherever possible,” Mr Kennedy said.

A Gippsland Primary Health Network spokesperson said the organisation had enhanced its commissioning processes to “effectively meet the current needs of the Gippsland community”.

“Gippsland PHN contacted all affected commissioned services in 2021 to explain the new outcomes-focused commissioning approach and invited them to co-design the tender,” the spokesperson said.

“All were invited to tender. The tender process also involved consultation with community and people with lived experience.”