Abbott abandons those with dementia


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



Tony Abbott has abandoned those living with Dementia, including over 25,000 Australians with Younger Onset Dementia.

The Abbott Government will cease funding of the Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program in July 2016 when it is rolled into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

There are now at least 25,100 people under the age of 65 years living with Younger Onset Dementia who rely on the federally funded Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program.

Shadow Minister for Ageing Shayne Neumann has called on the Assistant Minister responsible for both disability and aged care to reinstate the funding.

“Senator Fifield likes to talk about support for Dementia but he has overseen a $20 million cut to innovative dementia care programs in yet another disastrous Budget,” Mr Neumann said.

“This follows his misguided decision to cease funding for the life-changing Key Workers Program for those with Younger Onset Dementia.

“Last year he abandoned those with severe behaviours living in residential aged care facilities when he abolished the Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement on 31 July 2014.

“His widely criticised Severe Behaviour Response Teams, or Flying Squads, still haven’t commenced operation – over 12 months later.

“The test for Tony Abbott’s second Budget was to plan for the future, but all we can see is nasty surprises in store for vulnerable Australians.”

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Aged Care, Helen Polley warned that the Abbott Government’s short-sighted decisions would see Australia lose the reputation as a world leader in Dementia awareness and risk reduction.

“Australians living with Dementia have another nasty surprise in store as Tony Abbott discards the world’s first Dementia risk reduction program, Your Brain Matters,” Senator Polley said.

The innovative program run by Alzheimer’s Australia, led the World Dementia Envoy, Dr Dennis Gilings, to declare Australia a world leader and a pioneer in creating awareness and public risk reduction programs.

“These decisions are short-sighted, with Dementia estimated to cost Australia $6 billion every year in health care and lost productivity, according to Alzheimer’s Australia,” she said.

“More than that, Tony Abbott has effectively abandoned those living with Dementia, their families, carers and communities.

“The Abbott Government has no plan for dementia, which is now the second leading cause of death in Australia.

“Labor will always stand up for stability and certainty for Australia’s most vulnerable people.”