Thursday, 5 March 2020
Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Improved Home Care Payment Administration No. 1) Bill 2020; Second Reading
I rise in support of the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Improved Home Care Payment Administration No. 1) Bill 2020. Working for your whole life in order to provide for your family takes commitment, dedication, drive, patience and passion—not to mention strength to face the challenges, tests and trials you will encounter in life along the way. Building up that nest egg, setting yourself up for life after work and ensuring that your children and grandchildren have the things that you never had takes time and effort. The dedication of that tradie who's just hung up his hat for the last time after many years of loyally providing for his family deserves to be reward. That single mother who has worked for years to embark on her career, put her kids through school and provide for her family deserves to be rewarded. Like many senior Australians have done before, and will do in the years to come, my parents wanted the best life possible for me. For that, I thank them. This amazing level of dedication and commitment deserves to be recognised and rewarded, not disregarded. This important legislation not only amends both the Aged Care Act 1997 and the Aged Care (Transitional Provisions) Act 1997, but will ensure that the needs of our senior Australians are met, that they will get the support they need and that their years of hard work will not be forgotten or be in vain.
Our senior Australians have worked hard for their entire lives, and many are still finding themselves working in order to bring in income for themselves and their families. They have paid their taxes and done their fair share. The Morrison government sees that clearly and prides itself on giving back to our hardworking senior Australians and making them a top priority, so that they can comfortably retire to enjoy all the wonderful perks that life has to offer, such as travelling, attending shows or sporting events and, most importantly, spending time with their kids and grandkids, because they deserve it, they truly do.
We have more than 27,000 senior Australians living in the electorate of Longman as of today, and I am committed to delivering for every single one of them. I'm a man on a mission: to improve their lives and ensure that they can access the support and aged-care packages that they need in order to live a happy, healthy and comfortable life. One great thing that the Morrison government has done to improve the life of Longman senior residents is to increase the age pension by $117.80 for singles per fortnight and by $177.40 per couples per fortnight, benefitting the 21,433 aged pensioners that live in Longman. The Morrison government will continue to increase pension payments.
(Quorum formed) The Morrison government will continue to increase pension payments for the aged pensioners in Longman in March and September each year. This announcement by the Morrison government's welcomed by many pensioners within the community of Longman.
Not only as a government but also as a nation we must continue to support and respect our older Australians. Why? Because retirement brings its own set of challenges as well as a more relaxed life with time to yourself, your children and your grandchildren. It can also lead to loneliness and social isolation for a lot of senior Australians, who should be enjoying retirement. This is why it's important to take care of the senior members of your family, to make sure that they are happy and not drifting into social isolation. Take the time to visit them, drop in for a cup of tea and some biscuits, or walk next door and say hello to your elderly neighbour. Sometimes these moments, these brief chats, are enough to make their week, pull them out of isolation, get them out of bed in the morning and put a smile on their face. It can also encourage them to get involved in the community, such as signing up to be a member of a local club or even volunteering with a community group. Longman has great community groups, filled with great volunteers, who do a lot for the senior Australians who live in the community.
Meals on Wheels is one of those. This service provides great benefits to the elderly, not only with a hot, nutritious meal but sometimes the only person an elderly resident will see all day, or even all week, is a friendly volunteer from Meals on Wheels ready to deliver their food and have a quick chat. This makes their day, and it's something they look forward to.
We want our older Australians to live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives by giving them a choice about how and where they want to live, giving them more aged-care options and the capacity to live independently for as long as possible. This is why the Morrison government has been actively working for our older Australians every single day. This is why the Prime Minister announced the royal commission into the aged-care sector, in order to look at the quality of care provided in residential and home aged care to senior Australians. We are committed to providing older Australians with access to care that supports their dignity. We want to ensure that the quality of life of residents of aged-care homes and consumers of home care packages, who are socially isolated or lonely, are improved.
Some senior Australians may choose to travel Australia in their caravan once they retire, or may flock to places like Bribie Island in Longman, the electorate I serve, to retire in style by the sea. But we are finding that more and more senior Australians are choosing—you