House debates

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Questions without Notice

Aged Care

3:08 pm

Photo of Shayne NeumannShayne Neumann (Blair, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, Saturday will mark 100 days since the government announced, without any warning, that it was slashing the dementia and severe behaviours supplement, a supplement of $16 per day that helps residential aged-care homes with the unique demands of dementia patients. Is this what the Prime Minister meant when he promised a government of no surprises and no excuses?

Photo of Tony AbbottTony Abbott (Warringah, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

Dementia is a very serious problem, and it is a very serious management issue for nursing homes. As we know, our nursing homes and aged-care facilities do have an increasing portion of residents who do suffer from dementia. The problem with the program that was put in place by the former government is that it was not very well designed and, unfortunately, costs blew out tenfold. A program that was supposed to cost about $11 million was costing well over $100 million. So, as the shadow minister said, we suspended the program. We did suspend the program. We are working with the sector to redesign the program so that it does the job efficiently and effectively as originally intended. Unfortunately, as rather often happened under the former government, a policy that was full of good intentions was announced but it did not work as intended. That is the problem. Yet again it was something that the former government did but did badly. We are now attempting to ensure that it is delivered effectively and efficiently because that is what the public expect. Even good intentions and worthy causes—and, yes, this is a very worthy cause indeed—have to be pursued efficiently and effectively. That is what people expect from their government. That is what we intend to deliver.