Tony Abbott's Australia: No country for older people

Shadow Minister for Ageing, Shayne Neumann told a Launceston aged care forum today that Tony Abbott has made ageing a dirty word and given Australians every reason to fear getting older.

“In the lead up to the Budget Tony Abbott has nothing positive to offer older Australians,” Mr Neumann said.

“Tony Abbott’s Commission of Audit wants to make older Australians pay more for aged care and make the family home subject to means testing.

“Older Australians face enough challenges without adding more pressure on aged care providers to increase their fees.

“The austerity measures in the Commission of Audit would make aged care unaffordable and unattainable.

“Tony Abbott’s twisted priorities would put an unnecessary financial burden on the aged care sector, not exactly known for super profits.

“In the lead up to the Budget Tony Abbott has been scaremongering about the ageing population; painting the elderly as economic burdens, telling Australians they need to work longer, retire later with reduced pension income, and pay more for essential ageing services.

“Yet Tony Abbott’s Commission of Audit has been conspicuously silent on how to maximise the potential of older Australians and support them to work longer.

“There is no mention of how the sector is to meet the increasingly complex medical and social needs of older Australians in aged care.”

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Aged Care, Senator Helen Polley, said these proposed changes under the Commission of Cuts stand in stark contrast to the positive measures instituted under Labor’s Living Longer Living Better reforms.

“In Government Labor did the heavy lifting in aged care,” Senator Polley said.

“Historic aged care reforms are well underway, with broad public and sector input and support.

“The cuts outlined in the Commission of Audit are mean-spirited and unnecessary.

“Tony Abbott has been conspicuously silent on aged care, which indicates there is nothing but nasty surprises for vulnerable older Australians in the Budget.

“Tasmanians are concerned about Tony Abbott’s brand new tax on workers, cuts to pensioners, cuts to families, and a new tax every time you go to the doctor.

“This will be a Budget of broken promises and twisted priorities.

“He is not the Prime Minister he said he would be.”