Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Aged Care, Senator Helen Polley says that the Turnbull Government is living up to its shameful reputation of ignoring aged care workforce issues.

“Tasmanians are looking for leadership to navigate the unique challenges facing older Tasmanians and the aged care sector; but the Turnbull Government is nowhere to be seen,” Senator Polley said.

“We are one day from the election and they have failed to provide any new funding or a plan to ensure Australia’s aged care workforce can meet the demands of a rapidly ageing population.

“They axed the $1.2 billion Aged Care Workforce Supplement in September 2013, cut $40 million from the Aged Care Workforce Development Fund in the 2015 Budget and in the last round of Senate Estimates, walked away from their promise to develop a workforce strategy, saying it wasn’t their role to lead.

“Unlike the Liberal Government, which has failed to take aged care workforce issues seriously, a Shorten Labor Government will make the development of a National Aged Care Workforce Strategy a priority. We will begin that work within our first 100 days in office,” Senator Polley added.

The Liberals have treated aged care as an ATM, ripping $1.2 billion from residential aged care subsidies for residents in the 2016 Budget.

“This was one of the harshest cuts in the Budget and brought the total aged care funding cuts to $3 billion since the Abbott/Turnbull Government came to power.”

Causing even more stress to the sector, the Turnbull Government has refused to release the modelling for these cuts but still expects aged care providers to ensure the same high quality of care is delivered, regardless of the funding difference. This has presented a real threat to many aged care homes in regional towns, including Sandhill Aged Care and Mount Esk Aged Care here in Launceston.

“They have demonstrated absolutely no leadership, no plan and no funding to ensure older Tasmanians have appropriate, quality care and support,” Senator Polley said.

“The only things Malcolm Turnbull and his Liberals have offered to older Australians are over $3 billion in cuts to aged care and dementia services, cuts to Medicare, cuts to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and cuts to the pension.”

Older Australians have spent their lives contributing to make our nation what it is today and they deserve to have confidence that the services they need will be there.

“Older Tasmanians and the aged care sector cannot afford another three years being ignored and neglected.”

Only July 2, vote Labor to ensure older Tasmanians get the services and support they need.