Statement on Aged Care – Federation Chamber
In my maiden speech I spoke of the challenges we face as a nation with an ageing population, which will result in increasing demands on our aged care sector, whilst facing very difficult economic times.
I also spoke of my concern regarding the way government is funding residential aged care, particularly in the area of complex care.
Wide Bay has a greater than average ageing demographic, so how Government supports aged care is a very important issue for me and my electorate.
In the time leading up to, and since the election, I have met with many residential aged care providers in Wide Bay, as well as representatives from their peak industry bodies.
I have spent time going behind the scenes in aged care facilities in Wide Bay, meeting with managers, nurses, carers, and residents, to gain a deeper understanding of how services are delivered; the challenges the sector faces; and the impact of government policies on the people they care for.
Throughout Wide Bay, many operators – large, small and independent, have told me about their difficulties with changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument that are resulting in local cuts to funding – and these are of great concern to me also.
Providers have told me that changes to aged care funding have already caused cuts to nursing hours.
The elderly in care are amongst the most vulnerable in our community who rely on the dedicated, quality and compassionate care of those who work in the industry.
These older Australians are the people who delivered us the lucky country that we enjoy today. These are the Australians who built our roads, hospitals and communities. They built our schools, taught our children, nursed the sick and cared for the vulnerable – and now in their hour of need they deserve a world class aged care system; the aged care system they have earned.
The aged care sector must be properly funded, so it can continue to provide high levels of care to our older Australians.
The full, proper, and responsible care of elderly people is one of my key priorities and a priority the people of Wide Bay have elected me to act on.
I will continue to consult with providers and work constructively with the Government to advance the interests of people requiring aged care, particularly while government makes critical decisions in the near future that will affect the sector.
Mr Speaker, I will not stand for any policy, by any government, that sees a reduction in the quality of care for our older Australians.