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Tuesday, 7 October 2003
Page: 20631


Ms ELLIS (3:05 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Ageing. Is the minister aware that three aged care facilities in Victoria are currently under receivership and that the receivers told one family that moneys cannot be found in one of those facilities, which could result in the family losing some or all of the bond refund that they are entitled to? Is the minister also aware that the government's just released report on the operation of the Aged Care Act 1997 states that 24 facilities failed to provide audited statements verifying that they are able to repay bond liabilities to residents in the facility and that their bond liability has been insured? Given that one accommodation bond can be hundreds of thousands of dollars, and this problem has existed for six years—


Mr Hockey —How long is the question going on for?


The SPEAKER —Order! The Minister for Small Business and Tourism!


Ms ELLIS —can the minister guarantee that the accommodation bonds of the residents of all these aged care facilities are safe?


Mr Crean —That is a disgrace, Mr Speaker.


The SPEAKER —Order! I would remind the Leader of the Opposition that I took action against the Minister for Small Business and Tourism. The Leader of the Opposition might care to check the Hansard record.


Ms JULIE BISHOP (Minister for Ageing) —In answering this question I state that I am aware of the appointment of receivers and managers and indeed a liquidator in the case of two homes in Victoria. The department and the agency are monitoring the developments with these two aged care providers to ensure that they are complying with their responsibilities under the Aged Care Act. I am also aware that the Department of Health and Ageing has been contacted by the representatives of the former residents regarding the non-payment of the accommodation bonds. We require—and the department requires—that the payment of those bonds be taken from the proceeds of the sale which is currently under way. So the matter is in hand. This government will ensure that the people in question are not without their accommodation bonds.