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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 7135


Mr DUTTON (Dickson) (18:51): My question is to the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing. Has the minister been a party to or is he aware of any discussion regarding a requirement for the Department of Health and Ageing to find savings to offset the $325 million Tasmanian bailout?

Also, can the minister provide some detail in relation to the Living Longer, Living Better program? The government proposes to claw back funding based on changing categories of care. How many aged-care residents will be reclassified under the aged-care categories? For how many of these residents will a change in category result in lower payments to the aged-care provider? How much less funding will the average aged-care resident attract on a daily and annual basis? How much of the supposed increase in aged-care funding under the LLLB program is actually funded by reductions in payments per resident?

Further, Minister, is it true, as stated in the Grant Thornton reform report of June 2012, that the government is now seeking to save an additional $500 million of care subsidy in the 2012-13 year? What impact will this have upon current staffing levels across Australian residential care homes? Is it true that NACA yesterday requested a one-month delay to the ACFI savings? That relates to the question regarding the Grant Thornton report of this month. Was the minister or the government aware that over $3.5 billion in planned aged-care developments have been shelved, when did the minister first become aware of this potential issue and what has the government done to reassure the industry?

Specifically in relation to the mental health side of the minister's portfolio, of the government's reform package announced last year, what has been implemented? How much has been spent and on what? By way of example, what has opened? What is actually fully operational? Could you detail those services? What has been delayed so far?

Minister, could I also ask you a question in relation to the evaluation of the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program, which was only commenced late last year. Why was this program not evaluated earlier and when will this evaluation be released? Secondly, with the cap and freeze announced in the budget—seeing as neither the department nor the minister has seen the evaluation of the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program—on what basis was the decision taken to freeze that program? Without an evaluation, how did the department or government assess the value and effectiveness of the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program?

What stakeholders were consulted about the change? And, Minister, drawing you back to the original question, could you start with a response to the question of whether or not you have been a party to or are aware of any discussion regarding the requirement for the Department of Health and Ageing to find savings to offset the $325 million committed to the Tasmanian bail-out.