Still no flight path for Abbott's "Flying Squads"

Joint media release with the Hon. Shayne Neumann, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Shadow Minister for Ageing, Member for Blair.

The Abbott Government was left red-faced last night after failing to explain the $20.1 million cut to the Dementia and Aged Care Services Fund during Budget Estimates.

Tony Abbott’s nasty cuts to dementia initiatives highlight the ugly fact that there is no real plan to deal with dementia, which is now the second leading cause of death in Australia.

This shambolic Government’s solution to better support people with dementia is through further cuts and the experimental Severe Behaviour Response Teams, commonly known as “Flying Squads”.

During Budget Estimates last night Government officials were unable to outline the $54.5 million in spending for Flying Squads or articulate their operational functions.

The Abbott Government’s poor record in dementia care funding and planning shone through last night – further fuelling uncertainty and instability in the sector.

“The lack of vision on this topic during Senate Estimates last night indicates nothing but nasty surprises for vulnerable older Australians in store,” Mr Neumann said.

“Senior and vulnerable Australians do not need any further cuts and uncertainty when it comes to their care, particularly at a time when the aged care system is undergoing significant changes in service delivery and financing.”

“The Abbott Government’s inability to provide articulate answers proves that yet again, they are not across the detail,” Senator Polley added.

“All they are doing is giving Australians every reason to fear getting older.”

The Abbott Government needs to change its perception of dementia and put aged care at the forefront of Government thinking.

Our senior Australians deserve better.