House debates

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Constituency Statements

Aged Care

10:00 am

Photo of Steve GeorganasSteve Georganas (Adelaide, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Our elderly deserve respect and to live their twilight years with supported and secure services, but this Morrison government has let down older Australians. We know that there are over 100,000 people still waiting for care packages. Many deteriorate over the period that they're waiting or even pass away. It is estimated that approximately 30,000 people have died while waiting to receive an aged-care package. This is not good enough for our elderly Australians.

There are also many other issues with the care packages. For example, my constituent Bob Harris, who has come to see me on a number of occasions, felt that he was forced to accept services in the package that are not required, yet a fee is paid for these services. Bob accepted a package and pays two admin fees to a provider for overseeing his package without actually receiving the service. He was told he has no choice; otherwise, he would lose his package and go back on the list and wait for months. Bob requires a mobility chair or mobility scooter. This is his biggest need to get to the shops and to get around the place, as his legs are going on him and he is finding it difficult to walk. This is his priority. Yet he has to accept the entire package, which has a whole range of other things in it—for example, cleaning of three hours per month. He doesn't really require that service, because he has relatives that come in and assist him, but he's required to take it as part of the package, and there is a fee of $60 for that that comes out of his package, which could be used for a mobility chair for him to get around. In the end, he accepted the cleaning service for three hours per month at a cost of $60. Bob has tried to get a breakdown of the daily fees he pays but has found it absolutely confusing and vague—and, when he brought all the paperwork in for us to see, we found it confusing and vague too. He fears that, because of the fees he is paying, he won't be able to access the mobility devices that he will require in the future.

There is a clear lack of transparency. Most providers charge 30 per cent to manage your package and, even if you don't use all of your package, you still have to pay the standard amount. This is wrong. We should tailor things for people's needs, as with Bob and his mobility equipment. I can't believe people like Bob are paying and not receiving services or having to pay for services they don't need. There is something very wrong with our system. My constituent Bob Harris deserves an explanation. But, even though I've made representation, there is no satisfactory explanation by the minister. Bob Harris and all older Australians deserve better. It is time that the government fixes this aged-care mess.