Wednesday, 7 October 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Over the past three years, 30,000 Australians have died while waiting for approved home-care packages to be delivered. There are 102,000 Australians on the home care waiting list. How on earth can the government rack up $1 trillion of Liberal debt but only announce an average of 6,000 home-care places a year over the next four years?
I thank the member for Cooper for her question because it gives me an opportunity, as the Treasurer said last night, to remind the House that when we came to government there were 60,000 in-home aged-care places. As a result of the single largest increase in in-home aged-care places last night, that figure is now over 180,000. Over the course of our government we have tripled the number of in-home aged-care places in this country, and 97 per cent of those who are seeking aged-care places in their home are already either receiving an in-home aged-care place or some other form of in-home support. As the Treasurer made very clear last night, we're awaiting the recommendations of the royal commission into the aged-care sector, where we have been very clear that we will be making a comprehensive response to those recommendations and that will be done most likely in the course of next year's budget, if not sooner.
What we can say, though, is that we have delivered $1.5 billion of additional support into the aged-care sector through the course of this pandemic. On top of that, in response to the interim report of the royal commission, which called for more aged-care places and for a number of other actions, we responded to all of those last year. Here in this budget we said we would respond again, and we have. We have tripled the number of in-home aged-care places in this country, with an additional 23,000 last night.
Those opposite don't seem to understand that, in aged care, you could fund but you have to be able to ensure that those places can be delivered by the sector itself. We understand that and we need to ensure that proper care is paid to those who are receiving those in-home aged-care places. We're not going to go down the reckless path that those opposite pursued when they were in government, throwing money around with no thought to the consequences of how they implement it. That was the record of those opposite, who speak today about putting a roof over people's heads. Well, the last time the Labor Party put money into people's roofs they set them alight!
Honourable members interjecting—
The full and comprehensive response that we will provide to the aged-care royal commission will not only continue to deal with the tripling of in-home aged-care places that this government has already delivered but on top of that we will deal with the many other issues—
Ms Plibersek interjecting—
that are raised in the royal commission, as we indicated last night. We look forward to receiving that report. We have already responded to all of the recommendations of both the interim report and the COVID report that was provided by the aged-care royal commission and we will continue to respond as the royal commission makes its recommendations.