Monday, 21 June 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Senator Colbeck. Can the minister outline to the Senate the Morrison government's commitment to ensuring more older Australians can live at home for longer?
Thank you to Senator Henderson for the question. The Morrison government has a strong track record of supporting senior Australians, and it has been strengthened through our $17.7 billion investment in aged care announced in the budget. The government understands that many senior Australians want to live at home for longer, and we are boosting entry-level support services with an additional $112 million in investment in the Commonwealth Home Support Program. The latest allocation of funding will provide more access to a range of high-demand care services, including meals, transport, social support, respite, gardening and cleaning for older Australians, their families and their carers. The recent budget includes $6.5 billion to deliver an additional 85,000 home-care packages, reduce the wait list and give more seniors the opportunity to live in the comfort of their own home for longer. As part of this allocation, 40,000 home-care packages will be delivered in 2021-22 and a further 40,000 in 2022-23, which will make a total of 275,598 packages available to senior Australians by June 2023.
Our commitment and investment is already paying off for senior Australians. Between December 2019 and December 2020, home-care packages increased by 19 per cent to 173,495 packages. I'm happy to report that as of 31 May this year 189,369 people have access to a home-care package. This government is committed to showing senior Australians the care, dignity and respect they deserve.
The Morrison government's $17.7 billion investment in aged care includes more than $630 million to improve the access to quality aged-care services for senior Australians in regional, rural and remote areas, including special needs groups. This targeted investment will support communities identifying as being most in need. To ensure that Commonwealth home support program services remain accessible to all eligible senior Australians, providers are required to be as responsive as possible to requests from senior Australians and their carers for short-term or ongoing home support services. To access services, senior Australians, their family or their carers can contact My Aged Care for advice to arrange an assessment of their aged-care needs.
Thank you, Senator Henderson, for your question. And you're right, the government recently handed down a $17.7 billion package to deliver once-in-a-generation reform of the aged-care sector in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety final report recommendations. This package that was announced in the budget is the largest investment in aged care and the largest response ever to a royal commission. The focus through our aged-care reforms is to ensure that senior Australians have access to high-quality and safe services, are empowered to have more control and choice of their care arrangements and are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Every year, under a coalition government, home-care packages are up, residential home-care places are up, and aged-care funding is up. (Time expired)