Thursday, 17 February 2022
Statements by Members
Seven hundred and forty-three deaths this year, with people going without enough food or water, people with wounds not being tended, people not receiving basic medical care and half of the workforce not there—this is the catastrophe in aged care that the Morrison government is presiding over right now. Despite this seeping, festering catastrophe, Minister Colbeck still has his job. That's despite no plan for COVID in aged care in wave one of the pandemic, no plan in wave two and no plan in wave three. As of today, the booster program has vaccinated only 58 per cent of aged-care residents, less than three in five.
The Morrison government has known about this aged-care crisis for years. Remember that royal commission report entitled Neglect? Despite ongoing workforce issues, it took until last week for the Morrison government to make the extraordinary decision to send in the Army. That's how bad this crisis is. It's not Cyclone Tracy or Cyclone Yasi; it's the aged-care home down the road in your suburb. We were told 1,700 Defence Force personnel would be sent in to battle this crisis, but yesterday we learnt that only 106 have hit the ground. One hundred and forty thousand shifts are going unfilled and less than 10 per cent have been sent in to help. Seriously, I have seen wet cardboard with more structural integrity than this government. We have a hapless defence minister, and we have a Morrison government that is big on announcements but does little when it comes to delivery. Older Australians deserve a government that cares.