Senate debates

Thursday, 5 August 2021


Queensland: Aged Care

1:36 pm

Photo of Nita GreenNita Green (Queensland, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] Tara is a small town in the Darling Downs in Queensland, with a population of around 2,000 people. It has a school, a hospital and a library, and it has one aged-care facility, the Tarcoola Aged Care Facility, which is home to 30 residents and 40 staff. Last month, council made a decision to close the Tarcoola based on alleged staffing shortages. This means that residents will have to move away from their home town and their families. The decision came as a shock to staff, and there are genuine questions about whether this was a justifiable reason to close the home. An audit of the facility in March found that the facility met each quality standard, including that the workforce was sufficient, skilled and qualified. Whatever the case may be, the federal government and the local MP, David Littleproud, were fully aware of this impending decision of council but gave the council no guarantees of a fix for the staffing shortage.

Today I have written to the aged-care minister and the council demanding answers. I've asked the council to reverse its decision and save Tarcoola. If any level of government could come up with a single project that would create 40 local, permanent, secure jobs in a town of 2,000 people they would jump at the chance and would fund it in a second. But instead of doing that, the Morrison government shrugs its shoulders and passes the buck.

The closure of aged-care homes is happening in rural and regional towns right across the country because the Morrison government has failed aged-care residents and workers and their communities. This is a government that will spend $600 million to win inner-city Liberal seats with a car park rort but won't lift a finger to save aged-care homes in regional Queensland. We need to save Tarcoola and we need to fix aged care now.