GOVERNMENT FAILS TO ADDRESS LONG-TERM AGED CARE FUNDING NEEDS

Labor welcomes the Turnbull Liberal Government’s partial back down on its 2016 Budget measures that targeted the care of vulnerable older Australians.

The announcement that funding cuts to pain management, including those delivered by allied health professionals will not progress is a positive step, but again neglects the long-term care needs of our ageing population.
 
This back down vindicates the sector and Labor’s concern that the 2016 Budget would impact the complex care needs of older Australians.
 
Despite creating unnecessary distress for aged care providers and consumers the Government’s concession is better late than never.
 
For almost six months the Turnbull Liberal Government’s mismanagement has left aged care funding uncertain, stifling critical growth and investment in the sector.
 
While Labor welcomes this short-term reprieve it is not an acknowledgement of the long-term fix older Australians desperately needed.
 
Labor has consistently called on the Turnbull Liberal Government to commit to an immediate review and reform of aged care funding.
 
Until the Government undertakes a meaningful review of the cost of care of older Australians and commits to genuine reform the uncertainty and unpredictability of aged care funding will continue.
 
This instability has resulted in the community losing confidence that older Australians will have access to the care they need in the future.
 
The aged care sector, the full Federal Court, consumer advocates, even Minister Susan Ley and the Health Department have admitted that the current funding model is broken and needs reform.
 
The case for a meaningful review and genuine reform couldn’t be more clear and yet the Turnbull Liberal Government continues to drag its feet.
 
The proposed increase to the viability supplement for regional aged care facilities, although welcome, is a clear move to stifle the growing number of dissident National MPs and Senators.
 
It is disappointing that these changes have been driven by unrest between the Liberal and National parties, rather than the care needs of older Australians.