Senate debates

Monday, 23 March 2020

Questions without Notice

Coronavirus

2:40 pm

Photo of Richard ColbeckRichard Colbeck (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you, Senator Antic, for your question. Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the significant work that the sector's done so far in preparing for this quite unprecedented situation. I've appreciated the direct input from too many stakeholders to name individually—through forums, webinars and many conversations. And the resilience of the sector is really showing through and will help get us through this terrible situation.

On Friday the government announced an additional $444.6 million for the aged-care sector to ensure the continuity of the aged-care workforce. The funding will be used to provide $234.9 million for a COVID-19 retention bonus to ensure the continuity of workforce for both residential and home care. It will provide $78.3 million in additional funding for residential care to support continuity of workforce supply; and $26.9 million to increase the residential and home-care viability supplements and the homeless supplement, including increased viability supplements for national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flexible aged-care program providers and multipurpose services. It will deliver $92.2 million in additional support to home-care providers and organisations which deliver the Commonwealth Home Support Program—including, importantly, for services such as Meals on Wheels—and to provide early access to those services, and an additional $12.3 million to support the My Aged Care call centre to cater for the anticipated increased demand for those services from older Australians. This is on top of the $2.4 billion in the health package we announced that includes funding for things like telehealth, home medicine service and respiratory clinics, as well as $101.2 million for surge workforce and infection control training for residential and—

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