House debates

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Questions without Notice

Aged Care

2:25 pm

Photo of Brendan O'ConnorBrendan O'Connor (Gorton, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs (House)) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Nine days ago, the Prime Minister announced 1,700 Defence personnel would be deployed into aged-care homes. The Department of Health has admitted that, of the 1,700 promised, only 106 personnel have been deployed. When the lives of aged-care residents are at stake, why won't the Prime Minister do his job and deliver what he promised?

2:26 pm

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health and Aged Care) Share this | | Hansard source

At this point in time, as of today, there are 133 Defence personnel who are—

Hon. Members:

Honourable members interjecting

Photo of Andrew WallaceAndrew Wallace (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I can't hear the minister for health.

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health and Aged Care) Share this | | Hansard source

There are 133 Defence personnel who have been deployed to assist in aged care. That includes 116 ADF personnel who are supporting the aged-care sector and 17 ADF personnel who are deployed as ADF aged-care support planning and coordination teams. Of those, 35 are currently providing clinical support: seven in New South Wales, 10 in Victoria, eight in South Australia and ten in Queensland. Eighty-one are currently providing general duties support. Seventeen, as I mentioned, are providing coordination in the ACT.

That means that, at this stage, there are 25 aged care facilities that have been directly supported on the basis of the very terms which the Prime Minister set out: those which are facing a significant, clear and present threat to the capacity to carry on operations. Nineteen are currently being staffed, with six of them having had their duties completed. Those include Greens Care Community in Murwillumbah; Ron Middleton VC Gardens in North Richmond; RSL LifeCare Tura Beach; Dorothy Impey Home in Pascoe Vale; Anzac Lodge Nursing Home in Coburg; Coptic Village Hostel in Hallam; McGregor Gardens in Pakenham; Mercy Place Ave Maria Shepparton; Mercy Place Shepparton; Bairnsdale Parklands Care Community in Bairnsdale; Embracia Moonee Valley in Avondale Heights; Churches of Christ in Cardwell; the Good Shepherd in Townsville; Blue Care Alexandra Hills in Brisbane; Cabanda Care in Rosewood; Tanunda Lutheran Home in Tanunda; Ridleyton Greek Home in Brompton; Ananda Aged Care Hope Valley in South Australia; and Juniper Cygnet in Bentley, Western Australia.

In addition to that, we see that the ADF has played a significant role throughout the course of the pandemic. That role includes the support work which was done in relation to previous outbreaks. We have over the course of recent weeks been able to support Victoria with ambulance drivers and with the transport of passengers. In addition to that, they have been assisting with the dispatch of deliveries from the National Medical Stockpile. That National Medical Stockpile has seen supplies go to all aged-care facilities in Australia to assist, whether it is with the rapid antigen test program—where, as I mentioned before, 13.9 million tests have been dispatched—or whether it's in relation to the now over 50 million units of PPE which have been provided all up.

It is a well-known matter of fact and record that the government also offered the Victorian government the use of the ADF to assist with the hotel quarantine program. Unfortunately, that was not taken up.