Feros Care began as a beloved local Byron charity with a simple mission to provide affordable, dignified aged care. But changes to welfare funding has seen Feros ‘professionalise’ and transform into a collection of charitable enterprises with revenues of $107 million, a flashy head office in Coolangatta, a Brisbane based Chair and a bevy of ‘key management personnel’ costing $2.17 million.
Feros keeps expanding. Their new CEO styles herself a ‘disrupter’. She says she was attracted to work for Feros because they are ‘edgy and ambitious… and like me believe the status quo is never good enough’.
Sun Tzu attack
A few months ago this unrecognisable, ‘edgy’ Feros decided to redevelop the two hectare prime real estate that had been acquired and developed by the citizens of Byron for their old folk.
It was as if they wargamed their attack, following Sun Tzu’s proverbial advice that enemies are best ‘lured into an ambush and slain’.
And my goodness, they pulled it off brilliantly.
The security around their secret preparations was at a level Vladimir Putin can only dream of. No signalling your attack by blundering in with a column of half fuelled tanks. This was precision planning by Feros, the residents never saw them coming.
It launched at 6.58pm when a Feros executive based in Coolangatta pressed send on an four sentence email giving notice of an ‘important meeting’ next day.
As Feros know, many residents like the two aged over 100 don’t even have email. Everyone was preparing for bed with no idea their whole world was already upended.
The cone of silence had held!
Not your home
The bombshell dropped at 11am the next morning by the CEO who likes to ‘disrupt for a purpose’. She announced the Board’s decision to close the facility for redevelopment; everyone has to leave; and Feros can legally evict all of you with two weeks notice. But we are going to allow time to properly relocate you.
The Coolangatta executive who had sent the meeting notice had been foreshadowed to address residents. But the pandemonium triggered saw him carefully recede back into the shadows. He must have been grateful the shock and distress made everybody forget him and his speech.
He wasn’t the only vanishing act. The Board who approved this secret plan have been conspicuously absent. Even those who live in Byron failed to attend and witness the horrendous impacts upon residents of their decisions.
Feros’ predatory actions have outraged residents’ families and risks the wrath of an entire community. Byron Bay citizens are stunned by this news because Feros is supposed to be their treasured charity and this appalling behaviour has come as a total surprise.
This is a region traumatised and fed up with disasters, mistreatment and the housing crisis. We are fed up with swaggering Goliaths crushing the peace and wellbeing of our neighbours. I hope and believe we have got the residents backs. This surprise attack on elderly residents is not something we can or should tolerate.
Shameful. Sadly there is much evidence of psychological and emotional abuse of the elderly and other vulnerable groups in our country.
Once the money becomes key focus, it seems care and respect , the values of an org dissolve . I don’t understand?
I agree Liz, furthermore could suggest that the executive group has been led into group thinking by an unfeeling and remote mentality… whom are they there to serve and better, methinks only one of two possibilities, the souless lifeless organisation (maybe they are going to turn it into something for profit?) thats very existence is to serve the residents? or themselves?… one of the two is the only possible endgame.
I can’t imagine how distressing this is for the residents involved but in the interests of fairness I’d also like to hear from the board and any explanation they might have to offer. Has anyone thought to give them a right of reply or is this to be all about naming and shaming?
Good point. This is an opinion piece, but in the news story, which also ran on the front page of The Echo newspaper, the board, a spokesperson for Feros, the chairman of the Feros board and the CEO of Feros are all quoted, some extensively, along with the state and federal MPs on the issue. See Residents devastated by Feros’ plans to redevelop
If the land was acquired by the citizens of Byron Bay who actually owns it?
It’s Crown land leased to Feros – it’s covered in caveats and going to take years along with the DA for them to get development approvals. It was unnecessary to evict the residents now.
These are the same people who were responsible for the Health and Wellbeing of their Clients. Whom failed in their Duty of Care, as per the Royal Commission.
The Echos’ report dated the 15th., February, 2023.
Whist the Commission does not utilise the terms I have, Duty of Care; it is glaringly obvious that such is the case, to this author. Acknowledging all three replies, validating same accordingly, I do support Liz Fritz’s comments. The CEO, an RN who made the statement, the “status quo is never good enough”. Indeed it is not with this CEO, and or the Board.
I would that the good people’s of Byron Bay, do challenge this innocuous, outrageous contempt of their Elderly Families, with strength and courage.
George Feros would be spinning in his grave.
I always suspected the management driving around town in expensive cars where not focused on caring for people who stay there.
SHAME ON YOU!
This is terrible news as where these residents will go is very limited. Visit any local hospital and they are full of people waiting for nursing home placement. The average length of stay in hospitals is in the weeks now, not just because of medical reasons but they have no where else to live. Many are flood affected and can’t return home and placements are extremely rare. I worked for Feros and it was all about the marketing definitely not care.
ABC News covered this issue on last nights (12/3/23) nightly news.
Nice touch that journalist / presenter of the story Bruce Mackenzie referenced his connection back to when he was a youngster on the North Coast.