Senate Opposition Leader and South Australian Labor Senator, Penny Wong, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Aged Care, Senator Helen Polley, and Labor Member for Wakefield, Nick Champion, have called on Tony Abbott to provide certainty to the aged care sector and reinstate the axed Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement (DSBS) without delay.
On 26 June this year the Abbott Government abandoned people with dementia when the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Mitch Fifield, suddenly announced the cessation of the DSBS with no warning, consultation or alternative funding model.
September is National Dementia Awareness Month and this morning Senator Wong and Senator Polley visited the St Martin’s aged care facility in Marleston to speak to those affected by this savage cut.
Senator Wong said “The decision to cut the DSBS is another Abbott cut that has hurt vulnerable Australians.”
“Mr Abbott said that he’d run a Government of ‘no surprises or excuses’. The DSBS cut was a surprise for which there is no excuse,” Senator Wong said.
“Many families in Hindmarsh will be disappointed that their local MP Matt Williams continues to support this cut.”
“Vulnerable Australians living with severe symptoms of dementia every day deserve better.”
Senator Polley said that the sector was hurting and no leadership was being provided by Tony Abbott and LiberalMP’sMPs like Matt Williams.
“The Shadow Minister for Ageing, Shayne Neumann, and I have travelled to residential facilities across the country over the last few months and everywhere we go we hear the same thing – the Abbott Government has abandoned us,” Senator Polley said.
“The people who work here at St Martins have the immense responsibility of caring for vulnerable people with severe symptoms of dementia and their job has been made that much harder by this cruel cut.
“It is just one of many cuts that providers such as St Martins have had to deal with under this Government.
“When Labor was in power we introduced the Living Longer, Living Better reforms to create a sustainable and fairer aged care system after close consultation with the sector and the community.
“That stands in stark contrast to the Abbott Government. Joe Hockey delivered a horror budget that slashed the $652.7 million Aged Care Payroll Tax Supplement and made cuts to pensions which impacts on the revenue streams of providers. The Abbott Government demolished the $1.1 billion Aged Care Workforce Supplement, which was designed to boost the pay and conditions of the aged care workforce.
“But worse was to come following the budget when Senator Fifield abandoned people with severe symptoms of dementia and the people who care for them.”
Labor’s petition against Dementia care cuts is available at:http://www.alp.org.au/dementia.
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