Labor welcomes the start of Dementia Awareness Month and calls on the Abbott Government to show some leadership in creating a dementia friendly nation.

The month-long awareness campaign by Alzheimer’s Australia promotes dementia friendly communities, which enable people living with dementia to remain active, mobile and engaged within their communities.

Shadow Minister for Ageing, Shayne Neumann said the Abbott Government’s cuts have jeopardised efforts to raise awareness and reduce the risks of dementia.

“Dementia is an ongoing challenge that is not going away,” Mr Neumann said.

“Dementia costs the nation about $6 billion a year in health and aged care as well as lost productivity.

“The Abbott Government’s short-sighted cuts to dementia care and innovative programs will lead an unfriendly dementia nation.”

Approximately 342,000 Australians are living with dementia, with over 25,000 aged under 65 years. It is the second leading cause of death in Australia and will soon be the leading cause of disability.

Senator Helen Polley says the Abbott Government has no real plan to deal with dementia.

“The Abbott Government has handed down some of the cruellest and misguided decisions in dementia care,” Senator Polley said.

“As a result Australia is at risk of losing its reputation as a world leader in dementia awareness and risk reduction.

“Those living with dementia in Australia, their families, friends and carers need a government that can show leadership and courage in the face of this growing crisis.”

Tony Abbott’s cruel cuts to dementia include:

•Axing the $16 a day Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement

•Slashing $20 million from innovative care projects

•Abandoning the Younger Onset Dementia Key Workers program from June 2016

•Discarding the world’s first dementia risk reduction program, Your Brain Matters