Wednesday, 2 December 2020
Aged Care: Home-Care Packages
At the request of Senator Walsh, I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) more than 102,000 older Australians are waiting for their approved home care package,
(ii) 41,221 and 15,873 older Australians are waiting for their approved level three and level four packages respectively, the highest levels of home care, and
(iii) only 2,000 level four packages were allocated in the 2020-21 Budget;
(b) recognises that:
(i) the majority of older Australians waiting for level three and level four packages have high care needs,
(ii) some older Australians, many in their 90s or with terminal illnesses, have been waiting more than two years for their approved package, and
(iii) more than 60,000 older Australians have either died waiting, or entered residential aged care prematurely, because they could not access their approved home care package;
(c) condemns the Morrison Government for failing to stop the wait list growing and drip-feeding home care packages into the system, despite the Aged Care Royal Commission recommending in October 2019 it take urgent action in relation to the home care waitlist, which it described as cruel, unfair and discriminatory; and
(d) calls on the Morrison Government to take urgent action now to fix the home care packages waitlist now and properly address this national crisis.
The government is committed to helping senior Australians remain in their own homes for longer, and that's why we have invested in home care at every opportunity since the 2018-19 budget, with additional funding for over 73,000 packages, at a cost of $4.6 billion. The number of packages has increased from 60,308 under Labor in 2012-13 to 185,597 in 2020-21—under this government, an increase of 208 per cent in the number of packages. Over the same period, funding will increase by 302 per cent due to the growth in the number of high-level packages. Labor went to the last election with $387 billion of new taxes and offered no additional funding for home-care packages. Home care wasn't even mentioned in their budget reply speech.