Senate debates

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Council of Australian Governments

3:09 pm

Photo of Jim MolanJim Molan (NSW, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

Our government gets things done. The allegation that is being made, initially in broadcasts made from the ABC, is that the COAG meeting which was scheduled to meet on 4 October was somehow related to a vast range of reasons that, in essence, the ABC made up.

The negotiations by the education ministers on bilateral school funding agreements are occurring and they're still underway. The National Health Reform Agreement and the Closing the Gap Refresh would benefit, certainly, as anyone would agree, from further discussion between portfolio ministers before they are brought to the COAG. These and the other issues that were to be discussed at the COAG meeting on 4 October will now be discussed at the 12 December COAG meeting in Adelaide.

On 12 December, there will be a full day's worth of COAG meetings. The morning session will provide an opportunity for all governments to consider progress on a new National Health Reform Agreement, the Closing the Gap Refresh and actions arising from the Reducing Violence against Women Summit. The afternoon session will be focused on national security.

We are getting things done. We are doing things. One of the greatest examples of us doing things mentioned by Senator McAllister is energy policy. We have a very good energy policy, based on AEMO comments and ACCC reports. We have the ability to set the default price, we have the ability to put a cop on the beat and we have the ability to increase generation of electricity, of energy. We are doing things. In particular, we don't need meetings to do things. We are doing things on aged-care refunding reform. And, despite the number of questions which have come from the opposition claiming that there has been some form of cut to aged care, the government is not planning any changes that would reduce funding to aged care. So we are doing things on aged care. Annual funding will increase to record levels by $5 billion over the forward estimates, from $18.6 billion in 2017-18 to $23.6 billion in 2021-22. This is doing things, and it is not a cut.

The Morrison government, our government, is providing record aged-care funding of $19.8 billion this year. That is not a cut. Aged-care spending has increased by an average of more than six per cent each and every year. We are doing things, and that is not a cut. Looking at the six per cent each year, that is, on average, $1 billion of extra support for older Australians each year. We're adding an additional 13,500 residential aged-care places and 775 short-term restorative places. This is doing things, and this is not a cut.

From the last budget, we are delivering 20,000 new high-level home care packages to support senior Australians to remain at home longer. That is critically important, and it is doing things. By 2021-22, over 74,000 high-level home care places will be available. That is an increase of 86 per cent on 2017-18. How could that be a cut? That is no cut; that is doing things. There is over $100 million in investment in mental health services for ageing Australians in the community and in residential aged care. This consists of a $20-million trial to improve mental health services for Australians over 75 years of age. We are doing things, and that is no cut. There is also $82.5 million of that $100 million in new mental health services for people with a diagnosed mental disorder living in residential aged-care facilities. Again, we are doing this and there is no cut.

Last week we announced an additional $16 million to police quality in aged care. This is doing things. Any allegation or any view that we are not doing things is fundamentally wrong. We don't need meetings to do things. We just do them.

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