Senator Helen Polley has led Tasmanian Labor in calling on the Abbott Government to demonstrate some leadership on aged care and take the welfare of older people seriously.
At today’s Tasmanian Labor State Conference in Launceston several motions were successfully carried which highlighted the Government’s abandonment of senior Australians.
One motion concerning funding increases for aged care workers strongly condemned the Government’s decision to strip away the Workforce Supplement, which was created by the previous Labor Government to improve the pay and conditions of aged care workers.
Another motion that was successfully carried noted that several bodies and advisory panels which were recently cut, such as the Andrew Fisher Applied Policy Institute for Ageing, were actually responsible for “…placing Australia at the forefront of policy development on the opportunities and challenges of an ageing population.”
A final motion carried by Conference called on the Government “…to deliver medical-grade, Fibre-To-The-Premises broadband Tasmania-wide so that older people can benefit from groundbreaking technologies such as telehealth”.
Senator Polley said that Tasmanian Labor had spoken out strongly in support of older Australians because the Abbott Government clearly wasn’t concerned with their welfare.
“Labor cares about older Australians and the people responsible for caring for them. Tasmanian Labor is of course no different, we believe that everything should be done to ensure that older people live their lives to the fullest extent possible and that aged care workers deserve a boost in pay and conditions.
“What we have said today to Tony Abbott and his colleagues is this: Older Australians deserve better, they deserve a Government committed to improving the aged care system.
“When the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Mitch Fifield, tore up Labor’s Workforce Supplement he effectively turned his back on workers charged with the responsibility of caring for people at the most vulnerable point of their lives.
“The Government’s intransigence on the National Broadband Network will mean that many older people won’t have access to technologies that could significantly improve their lives. Copper wire just doesn’t cut it; sophisticated one-on-one telehealth consultations require medical-grade Fibre-To-The-Premises broadband.”
Senator Polley noted that many of the recent decisions taken by the Government on aged care will hit Tasmania especially hard.
“It is no secret that Tasmania has a higher percentage of older people than any other state or territory in Australia. This means that every time this Government cuts away at the support provided to senior Australians, Tony Abbott is doing particular harm to this state.
“It is not good enough and I certainly hope that the self-declared ‘Three Amigos’ tell him that they are concerned about the welfare of older people in their electorates. Because I can tell you that no one in Tony Abbott’s team is looking out for them right now.
“Andrew Nikolic, Brett Whitely and Eric Hutchinson must stand up and make their voices heard just as Tasmanian Labor has done today.”
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