Wednesday, 26 August 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. The aged care royal commission's interim report, titled Aged care in Australia: a shocking tale of neglect drew attention to aged-care residents sitting or lying in urine or faeces. Did the Prime Minister's decision to cut $1.7 billion from aged care contribute to these shocking circumstances?
Opposition members interjecting—
I have already informed the House of the significant increases in investments made by the government when it comes to aged care.
When I called the royal commission into aged care, when I undertook that soon after becoming Prime Minister, I said to the Australian people that we would have to brace ourselves for some very hard information about how older Australians were faring when it came to aged-care facilities in this country. What we pointed out at the time, and what has been widely accepted, is that these challenges are ones that governments, our own, those that came before us, have been wrestling with for many years over many decades—that the things the royal commission is looking at are not just issues and failings that have occurred in more recent times, but over the last 20 years. What we have seen as aged care demands have increased on the system is that they have increased not just in number but in the nature of the care that has become necessary. For those of us who have had to make decisions about putting our own family, our own parents, into aged care, we have known that when we've done that we are putting them into pre-palliative care. We know it won't be long in many cases, and that was certainly the case in my own experience, in the decision that my family had to make, that my brother and I and my mother had to make when my father went into residential aged care. So I don't accept the interjections coming from those opposite and I would ask them to show some respect on this very personal, sensitive issue.
When we make those decisions, we know—and the aged-care sector knows—that they are having to deliver a much higher level of acute care today than was the case 10 years ago or 20 years ago. That means the demands are greater, and that means the actions need to be greater. That's why our government has continued to increase funding in aged care by more than $1 billion every year. We will continue to do that, and we will do more. You will see more in the budget and you will see more in next year's budget. Just as people have seen in every statement now, going back several years, there will be increased places made available, particularly in in-home aged care. It is a challenging area and we must show respect for the dignity of people who are living in residential aged-care facilities, or wherever they are receiving our care. And that is our commitment to the Australian people.