Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Across Australia, more than 127,000 older people have been waiting for more than a year to access the care that they've been promised—to access the care for which they've received approval. When the last Home Care Packages Program data report was released, covering July to September last year, there were 735 Canberrans who were waiting to access their approved home care package. These are services that help them stay in their homes—services that allow them to continue to live with dignity to retain their independence.
These delays are causing uncertainty and stress for many of these older Canberrans. An older Canberran has been trying to get assistance for standard gardening and home maintenance services. And she has asked not to be named, so I will call her Margaret. Margaret's My Aged Care package was approved in July last year. Since then, every time she tries to get some help, she's been told that all service providers are at capacity, that they're full, and she has to wait until there is an opening. Service providers have also told Margaret to call in the new financial year. And she did that—this was last year—and she got nothing. They also told her again to call, after Christmas, six months later, and she still got nothing. Margaret is still waiting—she doesn't know for how long—and she doesn't know if she'll ever receive the services for which she is entitled and for which she has approval.
Another story, this time from Janne. Janne and her husband are both My Aged Care participants and have been using DUO, a service provider here in Canberra, for over five years for gardening and home maintenance services. At the end of the last year, Janne was told that DUO was no longer able to provide yard-tidying services, as their books were full. This was despite Janne being an existing client for more than five years. Janne is not a new client. She's been using this service for five years. She's been registered with Duo for five years. So how can they suddenly say that their books are full? Shouldn't Janne already be on those books? Janne has not been able to find another provider to take on those gardening and home maintenance services. Again, Janne has been told that all other service providers are fully booked. It's appalling that it has come to this—that this has come to be a standard practice across the ACT.
This is outrageous, and I call on the government to actually look after these people. There are more than a dozen reviews and hundreds of recommendations on aged-care issues that have been ignored by this government. It's just not good enough. Older Australians deserve more. They deserve to be treated with respect, love, care and dignity. (Time expired)