Tony Abbott needs to take responsibility for his Government’s inaction and indifference to older Australians living with dementia.
The Abbott Government has axed the $16 a day Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement (DSBS) 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 Abbott Government was not taking responsibility for its abandonment of some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens.
The DSBS, introduced in August 2013, will no longer be paid after 31 July 2014.
Mr Neumann said that the axing of the supplement was avoidable and typical of the Abbott Government’s short-term mindset.
“Tony Abbott’s Ministers could have been working with the Department of Social Services and aged care stakeholders to address issues around the original design, compliance with and validation of the DSBS assessment instrument.
“Joe Hockey could have addressed this in MYEFO late last year; he most certainly should have addressed this in the Budget in May. Instead they waited over eight months, until after the Budget and simply cut the DSBS with no consultation, no alternatives and no solutions.
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Aged Care, Senator Helen Polley, said that the aged care sector was not being properly consulted.
“To date the Government has held just one meeting with aged care providers and industry stakeholders to address the DSBS funding and has made no decisions, provided no insights and offered no certainty to the sector,” Senator Polley said.
“The Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement has been thrown on the scrap heap with no concern from the Abbott Government for how providers will care for people with severe symptoms of dementia.”
“The Abbott Government needs to take responsibility for allowing the supplement funding to spiral out of control by refusing to address the situation earlier.
“The over-subscription to the supplement highlights the extent of the dementia crisis in Australia and it is unconscionable that the only response from Tony Abbott’s Ministers has been to blame providers and try to get political mileage out of the situation,” Mr Neumann said.
"The previous Labor Government did the heavy lifting to make aged care sustainable and fairer, with wide community and sector support. That included the introduction of the DSBS in August 2013.
“However, the Abbott Government’s legacy will be the dumping the DSBS; slashing the $652.7 million Aged Care Payroll Tax Supplement; cuts to pensions which will affect aged care sector revenue streams; demolishing the $1.1 billion Aged Care Workforce Supplement; and the abolition of Health Workforce Australia.” Senator Polley said.
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