House debates

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Questions without Notice

Aged Care

2:01 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is addressed to the Minister for Health. Why are up to half of all older Australians in residential aged care malnourished?

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

Not a distraction?

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

I want to address this very clearly.

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

It's a distraction, is it, Josh?

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

The government called a royal commission, and it was one of the first acts of the Prime Minister on coming to office, precisely because we were concerned about the circumstances of Australians in aged care. When the Prime Minister called this, he said that we had to be prepared for findings which would be of concern, things which would confront all of us, so it was done without fear or favour, just to bring to light all of the issues which needed to be brought to light. The royal commission—and I thank the commissioners; sadly, we have lost Commissioner Tracey—found very clearly that there were flaws in the system, dating back not just over three or five years but over recent decades, and we have moved to address those issues. In particular, over $500 million was allocated as part of the response to the first part of the royal commission.

In addition to that, we have been supporting home care, as well as residential care. In particular, we have increased the amount of funding from $13.3 billion when we came into office to almost $22 billion, $23 billion, $24 billion and $25 billion over the course of the current budget. Let us be absolutely clear. We thank the royal commissioners for their findings. We embrace what they have found. We called that out. We also embraced any other findings. That's why we established not just a royal commission but also a permanent standing commissioner responsible for health and safety in aged care. These are the actions that we've taken, as I said, increasing the support, the encouragement and the protections not just in residential care but also in home care, and we will continue to do that without fear or favour.