Wednesday, 17 June 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. In December 2017 there were more than 100,000 older Australians waiting for the home-care package for which they had been approved. Two years later, more than 100,000 older Australians were still waiting. Why?
In both my time as Treasurer and my time as Prime Minister, on every single occasion we have increased the funding available for in-home aged-care places. We have put a priority on that in budget after budget, putting important resources into it as a matter of priority. One of my first acts as Prime Minister was to initiate the royal commission into aged care to address these very issues.
We will continue to put more funding into aged care and in particular into in-home aged-care places at every opportunity we have, which has been my practice and will continue to be my practice. Earlier this week I spoke to the CEDA forum and I talked about our commitment to guarantee the essential services Australians rely on. That related not just to the record funding agreements we have put in place with the states and territories on hospitals and on schools; I went further to specifically say that we would be continuing to address the challenges in the areas of aged care, in-home aged care and disability care.
And the only way you can provide support for those essential services is if you properly manage the economy. That's how you fund these services. You do not fund them through higher taxes; you fund them by ensuring that Australia re-emerges from the COVID-19 crisis with a stronger economy that gets people back into work. That's how you lift the revenues and, for those older Australians who are looking to have those in-home aged-care places, that's how you can pay for them.
Those opposite do not have a plan for how they would grow the economy. They don't have one. That's why they cannot look Australians in the eye, whether in Queanbeyan or anywhere else, and tell them that they can fund services, because they do not have a plan as to how they can grow the economy through this crisis and on the other side to ensure that our revenues can be restored and that we can commit to these services.
Mr Albanese interjecting—
The Leader of the Opposition interjects and talks about how the economy has shrunk. He must be the only person in this place who is unaware that we've gone into recession as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The Leader of the Opposition is, I would hope, the only one in this place who would seek to use the COVID-19 crisis to make a cheap political point in this place. He must be the only one.
But we will be able to commit the funding that is needed in disability care, in aged care, in in-home care, in hospitals and in education services, because our government has been able to guarantee these essential services because of our ability to manage budgets and our ability to ensure that we have a plan—the JobMaker plan—to get Australians back into work and to get the economy back on the right track, so we can commit to those important services. (Time expired)