House debates

Monday, 20 August 2018

Statements by Members

Aged Care

4:37 pm

Photo of Cathy O'TooleCathy O'Toole (Herbert, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Every single budget delivered by the LNP governments has included cuts to aged care. The Turnbull government are trying to say that they are funding 14,000 places for in-home community aged care over four years, when in fact the Turnbull government are robbing Peter to pay Paul, which was discovered in Senate estimates because the government is actually taking funds from residential aged care to pay for in-home care packages. Robbing Peter to pay Paul does not fix one problem; it actually creates two problems. Three thousand five hundred packages a year isn't enough to keep pace with the actual demand, as there are currently 105,000 people on the waiting list. In Northern Queensland, there are more than 323 people waiting for access to in-home community care packages. Last month I met Christine, whose mother passed away whilst waiting for a package. To rub salt in the wounds, more than four months after her mother's death Christine received a letter to say that her mother was now approved for a package. We had a very similar incident with my mother-in-law. We received a call to book an appointment for her to have an assessment. Unfortunately she had passed away. This is quite disgraceful and very distressing and hurtful for families. We don't actually know the real waiting list—we suspect the numbers are a lot higher—because the Turnbull government has refused to release the latest data. Older Australians deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and that includes in-home aged-care packages.