“In this Budget we will continue to cut unnecessary waste …” - Scott Morrison, Budget Speech 3 May 2016
Sussan Ley needs to outline how she allowed aged care to be treated as “unnecessary waste” by Scott Morrison.
Aged care received one of the harshest cuts in the Budget, with $1.2 billion slashed from residential aged care subsidies for residents.
The Turnbull Government attempted to waste time in Senate Estimates, justifying the largest cut in the Health portfolio as a way to improve care for older Australians living in residential aged care.
But without any idea on the impact these cuts will have on vulnerable older Australians, it is clear that Scott Morrison and Sussan Ley consider aged care “unnecessary waste.”
Analysis provided by peak body, Leading Aged Services Australia shows the impact on someone receiving a higher level of complex care fees could be reduced from over $60 a person per day to just $16.
In effect, two residents in the same home, with the same complex care needs, could have a $50 a day funding difference, depending on whether they were assessed before 1 July 2016 or afterwards.
Senators heard that the Turnbull Government expects aged care providers to ensure the same high quality of care was delivered, regardless of the funding difference.
This does not mean aged care residents might have to live without a glass of wine with dinner; this funding pays for things such as physiotherapy to manage chronic pain and the oversight of specialist medication for cardiac conditions, Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease.
The choice residents now face is receiving physiotherapy to manage chronic pain, or … living with chronic pain
Aged care is a people service, with salaries making up most of the expenditure.
A massive $1.2 billion cut will directly impact on some of the nation’s lowest paid workers.
Australians pay more to the mechanic who looks after their car than to the carer who tends to their loved one in an aged care home.
In Estimates the Government acknowledged it should undertake a major review of the aged care funding instrument rather than simply cutting funding.
However, with an election to be called this weekend, that will not begin until at least August.
Malcolm Turnbull has clearly prioritised tax cuts for his mates in the big end of town over the pain management and medications for vulnerable older Australians living in residential aged care homes.
Australia cannot afford another three years of savage cuts, which now amount to over $3 billion in aged care services over the past three Budgets.
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