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Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Page: 256

Mr DUTTON (3:42 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Ageing. I refer the minister to reports that not-for-profit aged-care providers are refusing to take up placements for high-care residents. With the crisis in aged care, why was not one cent of the government’s spending package allocated to help older Australians in need of high care?

Mrs ELLIOT (Minister for Ageing) —I thank the honourable member for his question. I point out to him that this government is providing record funding when it comes to aged care of $41 billion over the next four years. That is in comparison to 12 years of neglect by the previous government. The other side is always talking down the aged-care sector. The honourable member referred to the latest aged-care approvals round, in which we had very healthy and competitive numbers of people applying for those places right throughout the country. Indeed, when it came to high care we had a huge amount. When it came to community care, we had a 10 to one oversubscription. What that shows is there is a huge interest from providers when it comes to applying for those particular places.

Mr Dutton —The industry’s in crisis and you have no idea what’s going on!

The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Dickson has asked his question.

Mrs ELLIOT —So I thank the member for pointing out the latest round of ACAR, in which we have a major oversubscription and in which we are seeing major capital grants to our aged-care providers throughout the country. As I said at the beginning, this government is committed to providing aged-care services for our older Australians. We had 12 years of neglect from those opposite. What we are doing is providing record funding—$41 billion over the next four years. We are doing that to provide services to our older Australians right throughout this country where they need and deserve them.