Monday, 18 February 2019
Questions without Notice
Aged Care, Dividend Imputation
My question is to the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care. Will the minister update the House on how our government is supporting ageing Australians and providing the essential services on which they rely, without increasing taxes? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches that would hurt the livelihoods of retirees who have worked hard to support themselves?
I thank the member for Brisbane for his ongoing interest in senior Australians. When we consider senior Australians, they are our grandparents and our parents who are now accessing services for a raft of matters to do with their retirement, their ageing years and aged care. Let me also say that they were once members of some of those opposite's unions. They lived and grew up in a period when they were not able to have the mechanisation that we currently have today in all of their technology. There are a range of things that we are putting in place, such as better aged care, better access to services, better ageing and better quality.
Let me say this, for those who are interjecting: elder abuse within aged care is being addressed through the royal commission. We are dealing with it on a raft of matters. The initiatives that we have put into place are forward estimated over the $5 billion that go to a range of programs. Recently, in MYEFO, we provided an additional $552 million to make aged care enjoyable and better. Recently, we announced $662 million to provide the level of support and attention that is needed.
Member for McMahon, it's a pity that when your government was in power it didn't address all of the recommendations of the Productivity Commission, because, had you done it, we would not be facing some of the challenges we've had to fix.
Those opposite collectively want to punish senior Australians who have worked hard for their incomes, who have saved for their retirement and who have saved for the living expectation of standards that they want to enjoy with their families and their children, and yet you want to tax them. You want to tax 900,000 Australians who have enjoyed a pathway to life. Leader of the Opposition, it would be great if you had the same respect for senior Australians, because they have built this nation and the work that they are doing and the support that we provide on a range of issues are significant.
There is the list of medications that my colleague, the Minister for Health, has listed for senior Australians and the workforce opportunities that we are creating. Our economy is developing at a rate that is extremely strong and allows us to provide the range of services that we need to provide for senior Australians. The royal commission was called because of the structural changes and reforms that are needed. They go to a raft of issues across a number of fronts.
An opposition member interjecting—
If people think that's humorous, then I find that appalling. Our senior Australians and those in aged care deserve better than what we have seen in the last 20 years.