Labor slams absence of policy directions in 2017 Budget

Labor says the Budget has failed to address the medium to long term challenges of an ageing population, including delays for home care assessments and package allocation.

“The Turnbull Government has missed a crucial opportunity to address the challenges of an ageing population – instead backing big business and the well-off,” Senator Helen Polley and Julie Collins, Shadow Minister for Ageing and Mental Health said in a joint statement.

“After two years of cuts, ageing remains a policy free zone for the Government, with a continuation of over-subscribed programs and no strategy to deliver long-term reform.”

“There is no relief for vulnerable older Australians facing 12 month waitlists for home care and no relief for excessive delays for assessments.”

“Many Australians who want to grow old at home, will now be forced into residential facilities, or acute hospitals as their health deteriorates waiting for a home care package.”

“While a two year delay over the planned merger of the Commonwealth Home Support Program and Home Care Packages will provide some relief for organisations such as Meals on wheels, it confirms the Turnbull Government is falling behind on long-term reform.”

“A clear timeline for future reforms is now critical to prevent further delays in delivering choice, fairness, quality and sustainability in our aged care system.”

“The third fix in as many years for the embattled My Aged Care platform is further proof that consumers and providers are not getting the advice and assistance they need.”

“After four years of neglect, the Government has finally acknowledged the need for an aged care workforce strategy.”

“It is however critical that the $1.9 million taskforce includes providers, unions, employees and consumers and that it delivers a funded strategy, not more delays.”

“This ageing policy free Budget is a clear sign that older Australians are still not a priority for the Turnbull Government.”

While the main industry associations welcomed the ‘no surprises’ Budget, Pat Sparrow and Sean Rooney acknowledged there is still the potential for another beating with the new ACFI model yet to be determined.

Ms Sparrow said once the legislative and ACFI reviews are complete, “industry and the Government will then be able to have a sensible conversation on how aged care funding, including those from the public and private purse, can be structured to ensure our older citizens receive the quality of care they deserve.”

Mr Rooney said “Individually, and collectively, these Budget initiatives respond (in part) to the growing demands for age services in Australia and are welcomed by our industry.”

“Notwithstanding this, the aged care sector needs a long term, stable and sustainable funding strategy to ensure Australia has an accessible, affordable, quality aged care system.”


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