Thursday, 25 February 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. How can Australians trust the Prime Minister to act on the aged-care royal commission when he cut $1.7 billion from aged-care funding; nearly 11,000 people died while waiting for their approved home-care packages in the last year alone; there's chronic understaffing, malnutrition and ants in wounds in aged-care facilities; and there have been 685 deaths of aged-care residents from COVID? How can Australians trust the Prime Minister when he takes responsibility for nothing and nobody? (Time expired)
The care of older Australians is a very important responsibility, and one that our government takes very seriously. That is why, soon after becoming Prime Minister, one of my first decisions was to initiate the royal commission into aged care. That was one of many decisions taken by this government, and also prior to my coming into the role of Prime Minister.
Since 2013 our government has continued to deliver record investment in aged care—from $13.3 billion when we came to office to $24.3 billion now, in the current year. This funding will increase to some $27 billion by 2023-24. Under the stewardship of this government—the effective financial stewardship, I should stress—this is, on average, an extra $1.5 billion of support for older Australians every single year over the forward estimates. More money every year, and increasing, because our government understands the fundamental challenges that we face in the aged-care sector, and we also want to know about all the issues that still need to be addressed. When we called the royal commission into aged care we made very clear that we needed to deal with the fundamental failings in the aged-care sector, which have been happening not just recently but over decades. We need to address those fundamental issues as we respond to the royal commission.
Ms O'Neil interjecting—
In addition to that, we announced, and have been delivering, an additional $5½ billion since the 2018-19 budget for additional home-care packages—83,105 additional home-care packages. There is now a total of 195,597 packages that will be issued by 30 June this year. Between now and 30 June, the number of home-care packages available to senior Australians is increasing by approximately 1,200 per week. We are absolutely determined and committed to addressing the serious issues in our aged-care sector. When I announced the royal commission into aged care, I said it begins with a culture of respect for older Australians. That's what we need in this country, and that is what my government is determined to deliver.