House debates

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Questions without Notice

Aged Care

2:54 pm

Photo of Angie BellAngie Bell (Moncrieff, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Health. Will the minister outline how the Morrison government's stable and certain budget is guaranteeing the essential aged-care services that older Australians rely on?

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to thank the member for Moncrieff. As I mentioned earlier, one of her passionate areas of interest and activity since coming to this place has been aged care. She has been a great advocate for action in relation to reducing the practice of chemical restraint and making sure that it's never allowed to be misused or abused again, in line with the views of the royal commission. I thank them for their findings. She has also been an advocate for action and research on dementia, a condition which will increasingly affect more and more Australians as our population ages. This is our great combined sacred trust. We're able to take steps in this direction because we do have a budget that is strong. It's a budget which allows us to move from the $13 billion of funding which we inherited when we came into government, from the year prior, to now $22 billion, $23 billion, $24 billion and $25 billion approximately over the forward estimates.

What we said only last week, when we announced our response to the royal commission, was to deal with the interim priorities that were identified. The Prime Minister was the person who called the royal commission. It was on his watch, in his time, in a way that no other person in Australian history has done before. He did that coming off the back of the tragedy and scandal that occurred in Oakden, under the previous South Australian government, in a state-run facility. He recognised that more needed to be done around the country.

As a consequence of that, we have been able to invest $537 million in our interim response to the royal commission. In particular, that has included the commitment to unify—in line with the royal commission's recommendations—the home care and home support programs; to invest $496 million immediately in additional home care places; to make sure that we're focusing on the needs of higher level patients, those older Australians who need that support. In addition to that, though, it's about bringing younger Australians who are in aged-care facilities out of those facilities. We've accepted the royal commission's goals of taking all those Australians under the age of 45 out of facilities by 2022, subject to some exceptions, and similarly taking under 65s out of facilities by 2025. In particular, we have accepted the need to do more to prevent chemical restraint of patients with dementia. That is why we have taken steps so that, as of 1 January, Respiradone will not be available for more than a 12-week period without special authorisation. This is about ending the practice of abuse of— (Time expired)