Senate debates

Thursday, 8 February 2024

Statements by Senators

Aged Care

1:40 pm

Photo of Tammy TyrrellTammy Tyrrell (Tasmania, Jacqui Lambie Network) Share this | | Hansard source

If you were asked by your boss to rate your work performance out of five, you'd probably give yourself a decent score. If you were asked to pick a few colleagues to rate your performance, you'd likely pick a few of your mates to put in a good word. We can all see the flaw in this kind of biased self-reporting, so why couldn't the government see it when they set up their aged-care star rating system?

'Failure', 'useless' and 'misleading' are the words experts are using to describe the system, which has been up and running since December 2022. The system relies on the aged-care facility rating itself on key indicators, and it relies on residents' feedback about a home's performance—residents that can be hand-picked by the facility management. Worst of all, the star rating system is giving some aged-care facilities four or five stars for compliance when they've actually been found non-compliant by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. How does that work?

The star rating system was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, but it's not good enough to introduce a system and give yourself a pat on the back, saying, 'That's a job well done.' Surely if the royal commission taught us anything it was that, while boxes were being ticked, residents were being failed by the system that was supposed to be protecting them. So, while Labor may claim that they've done what the royal commission asked them to, the evidence suggests otherwise.

The evidence suggests this is another system that has bureaucracy at its core, not people. We need a system that actually works for the people it's supposed to protect. It's good, then, that there's consultation open on a proposed new aged-care act. There's a chance for the Labor government to fix this mess and finally put people at the centre of the aged-care system, not red tape.