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Monday, 19 September 1994
Page: 892


Senator PATTERSON —I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

  That the Senate—

  (a)notes that:

    (i)Australia's population is rapidly aging with 11.8 per cent of the population currently aged over 65 years and an expected increase to 13.46 per cent in 2011 and to 20.08 per cent by 2031, that is, from nearly 2 million in 1991 to about 5.2 million in 2031, and at the same time the number of persons over the age of 80 is likely to increase six-fold by the middle of next century, from 373 000 in 1991 to over 2 million in 2051, and

    (ii)such a rapidly aging population has enormous implications for the community and for policy-making in areas such as health and social security, retirement incomes, community care programs and residential accommodation options for the elderly;

  (b)condemns the Government for failing to address adequately issues of vital importance to Australia's aged, such as:

    (i)the inflexibility of recurrent funding and the crisis in capital funding of nursing homes and hostels,

    (ii)the need to fund adequately dementia-specific facilities and to provide appropriate and affordable respite care for people with dementia and their carers,

    (iii)the need for a total overhaul of the disjointed and inadequate Home and Community Care program, and

    (iv)the urgent need to simplify the pensioner income and assets test system which is far too complex for people to understand and occupies an unjustified importance in the lives of people on the pension; and

  (c)calls on the Government to act immediately to deal with these issues.