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Wednesday, 19 June 2002
Page: 3985

Mr BALDWIN (6:40 PM) —I am glad that the Minister for Ageing is in the chamber, so I will take this opportunity to raise a number of points in the areas of both health and ageing on behalf of my electorate of Paterson. Firstly, I congratulate the Myall Lodge Hostel aged care facility in Tea Gardens on its 10th anniversary. Minister, there are a number of staff and volunteers who do a remarkable job at the centre, and I would particularly like to congratulate the administrator, Frank Caulfield; the president, John Sharp; the secretary, Ted Cohen; and, of course, Lorraine Davenport, the supervisor.

This 10-bed facility currently has plans for a 20-bed extension to meet the growing needs of the Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest area. The development will be assisted by a grant of $325,000 from the Department of Health and Ageing and a grant of $175,000 from the Department of Veterans' Affairs. I also send my congratulations to the Harbourside Haven Nursing Home, where earlier this month a 22-bed extension and restructured rooms were opened by the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, the Hon. Danna Vale. Minister, I ask you to keep in mind that almost one-third of all residents of Harbourside Haven are veterans or war widows. It is pleasing to see that the needs of our veterans and their families are being addressed, as we all owe them a debt of gratitude for their service and sacrifice.

In the 2001 aged care approval rounds that were announced in January, Paterson was given a total of 152 new aged care places, worth more than $2.9 million. The successful applicants were: Baptist Community Services in Forster, which received five housing linked care packages; a new service called Darvelan in Forster, which received 40 high care places and 60 low care places; the Forster-Tuncurry Nursing Home in Tuncurry, which received 15 low care places; Dungog and District Retirement Living Inc., which received 12 low care places; and, as I said before, the Myall Lodge Hostel, which received 20 low care places. The announcement was a step in the right direction for aged care in regional areas in bringing more services and places into areas outside the major cities.

Following that announcement in January, I visited the nursing homes in my electorate to see first-hand what our local needs are and to discuss with the centre managers where we need to go in the future. There are three specific cases in Paterson of nursing homes that require capital funding in future aged care approval rounds: the Great Lakes Nursing Home in Bulahdelah, Dungog and District Retirement Living Inc. and Gloucester Nursing Home, based at Gloucester Hospital. Without these facilities, residents of these three towns would have to move or travel considerable distances to receive aged care services. In April, I wrote to the aged care planning advisory committee in New South Wales, recommending that, in future aged care approval rounds, consideration is given to the capital funding needs of these facilities. I would like to reiterate that message here today.

Minister, clearly understand that, in order to keep up with the accreditation standards and to provide aged care services to regional towns, we need to see capital funding go into these centres. Minister, as you go through this year, issuing places and making commitments to the community—and you have done a good job so far—I urge you to take the needs of the people of Paterson into consideration. I urge you to address the need for capital grants in these areas, as well as the further needs for aged care beds in the seat of Paterson. We have one of the highest aged care dependency needs in Australia, and I think you should undertake a study—indeed, come to my electorate to see these facilities—and determine what is needed, and then address those issues on behalf of my constituents.