House debates

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Questions without Notice

Aged Care

2:55 pm

Photo of John AlexanderJohn Alexander (Bennelong, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Aged Care. Will the Minister update the House on how the government's plan for a strong economy enables the government to provide the necessary support for aged care? How might an alternative approach put this support at risk?

Photo of Ken WyattKen Wyatt (Hasluck, Liberal Party, Minister for Indigenous Health) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to thank the member for Bennelong for his ongoing interest in the needs of senior Australians and in the aged-care sector. Mr Speaker, you've heard me talk about many of the programs and reforms we're undertaking.

I listened to the royal commission speeches over the last couple of days and there is a point I want to make about ABC Fact Check's article 'Did the government cut $1.2 billion from aged care funding?' Let me cite what is in there. This is the ABC Fact Check statement:

The overall level of Commonwealth funding provided for aged care has increased on an annual basis for at least the past decade.

…   …   …

As some experts contacted by Fact Check suggested, rather than representing a cut, the decision to carve out $1.2 billion of "efficiencies" could rather be characterised as an attempt to better target aged care funding, with spending continuing to rise in real terms.

Fact Check deems that an adjustment to future spending does not represent a "cut" when the overall level of spending continues to rise.

Finally, Fact Check said:

Professor John Wanna, an expert in public administration at the Australian National University's College of Arts and Social Sciences, said the reduction in the rate of increase in future spending should not be characterised as a "cut", because future spending was more anticipated than real or legislated.

We have continued to improve and increase our funding, and I'll table that Fact Check.

Actual funding has increased in all facets. But what we're also doing is looking at the way in which people living to 100 access healthcare services and systems. This morning, Minister Hunt launched the Know Your Bones community risk report, which covers the areas that I'm responsible for in terms of osteoporosis and the impact of bone density in the community. In addition, at the COAG health ministers' council meeting we had a discussion around the need for the Commonwealth and states to work together to ensure the continuity of services that interface for the needs of older Australians—either as they live at home or as they live in residential care.

We will continue to increase our commitment to ensuring a safe environment for senior Australians in the choices they make about whether they live within residential care or whether they live with their home-care packages. We will continue to provide support through the Commonwealth Home Support Program. We will continue to implement the reforms on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. We will continue to make sure that we focus on how we provide a better future for senior Australians through ageing well, better care and quality of care.