Labor today called on the Abbott Government to quit blame shifting and reinstate the axed Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement (DSBS) without delay.
Earlier this year, the Abbott Government cancelled the $16 a day supplement paid to approved aged care providers to assist with the additional costs of caring for people with severe behavioural and psychological symptoms associated with dementia.
Shadow Minister for Ageing, Shayne Neumann, said that the aged care sector was still completely in the dark as to whether the Government was planning reinstate the supplement, replace it with something else or scrap it completely.
“Since 1 August this year, aged care providers have no longer had access to the extra funding support provided by the DSBS,” Mr Neumann said.
“This means that they have had to stop and reassess whether they can afford to invest in dementia-specific initiatives.
“Many of these providers are operating on tight margins and they have already had to deal with the Government’s scrapping of the Aged Care Payroll Tax Supplement and proposed cuts to pensions which will affect aged care sector revenue streams.
“They are hurting and the Government has refused to provide proper guidance as to whether the DSBS will be redesigned or axed permanently.”
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Aged Care, Senator Helen Polley, said that the Government needed to take dementia seriously and demonstrate real leadership.
“I think it is really sad that this government has been willing to treat dementia and aged care as political toys,” Senator Polley said.
“Tony Abbott and his Ministers have basically put their heads in the sand on this.
“They would have known from late 2013 that more funding was needed but it was not addressed in MYEFO last November or in this year’s Budget.”
Mr Neumann and Senator Polley said that anyone concerned about the scrapping of the DSBS could take a stand by signing the petition here:http://www.alp.org.au/dementia.
WEDNESDAY, 13 AUGUST 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: MADONNA OLIVER (NEUMANN) 0416 199 808
JOHN RONAN (POLLEY) 0408 542 547
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