House debates

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Statements by Members

COVID-19: Aged Care

1:30 pm

Photo of Julie CollinsJulie Collins (Franklin, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Ageing and Seniors) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] I want to start by congratulating Victorians on what is an incredible day, with two numbers of zero in terms of COVID infections and deaths in Victoria. I am particularly pleased to see that the number of cases in aged care in Victoria is down to four. What we've seen in Victoria and across the nation and in aged care particularly has been truly tragic, with over 683 deaths and over 2,000 cases in aged care across the country.

Our concern on this side of the House—and I raised this last week—is that we're still not ready if we get further outbreaks in residential aged care across Australia today. The royal commission's special report into COVID gave the government six recommendations. The two most significant of those are to put more staff on the floor in residential aged care to deal with visitors to ensure that older Australians in residential aged care are not isolated. The other most important one was to do with infection control on site. We need infection control officers in residential aged-care facilities on the ground right across Australia.

Labor has also called on the government to ensure that residential aged-care response centres are able to stand up immediately anywhere in the country any time we get an outbreak. This is a really critical thing. We've had an admission from Professor Murphy that if the federal government had done more sooner we would have avoided some deaths. (Time expired)