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Government announces overhaul of aged care se -

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Prime Minister Julia Gillard has unveiled the biggest overhaul of aged care services in three
decades, winning applause from providers and workers in the sector, though Opposition Leader Tony
Abbott is pointing out that many will pay more.


EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: The Prime Minister Julia Gillard has unveiled what is claimed to be the
biggest overhaul of aged care services in three decades, winning applause from providers and
workers in the sector. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is pointing out that many will pay more as a
result of the reforms as the Government redesigns a system that must cope with a growing population
of older Australians.

Political correspondent Tom Iggulden reports from Canberra.

TOM IGGULDEN, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: They were the generation that gave us everything from rock
and roll to the moon landing, and now they're in need of something in return.

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: The baby boomers, who will clearly want more options and choices
than older Australians have sought in the past.

TOM IGGULDEN: Now on the edge of retirement, the ones who invented one fitness craze after another
are expected to live longer than ever, swaying the Government to reform aged care for the first
time in 30 years.

MARK BUTLER, AGED CARE MINISTER: Transforming a system that was built in the 1980s around nursing

TOM IGGULDEN: Places in homes are already so tight, the Government says some providers are
demanding bonds of more than $2.5-million.

JULIA GILLARD: Perhaps most disturbingly of all, 40 per cent of older Australians are forced into
emergency fire sales of their homes in order to raise the money to pay for care.

TOM IGGULDEN: A new regulator will oversee bonds and fees charged to customers, while the
Government looks to reduce demand for places by boosting home care services from 60,000 to 100,000.

JULIA GILLARD: More people will get to keep their home, and more people will get to stay in their

TOM IGGULDEN: And, appropriately for the generation that dreamt up the internet, a new website will
allow comparisons between nursing home providers.

MARK BUTLER: Their services, their amenities, their staffing levels, their fees and charges, their
history of complaints if they have any, and for the first time, a ratings system.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Government will pump $270 million into extra care for dementia sufferers. There
are financial incentives for providers to build or upgrade facilities, and a likely pay rise for
workers who staff them.

It's a deal that's given unions and operators most of what they wanted since presenting a united
case for reform to the Government three years ago.

MARTIN LAVERTY, CEO, CATHOLIC HEALTH AUSTRALIA: That money is going to improve the quality of
services, with a particular focus on disadvantaged groups.

TOM IGGULDEN: With just half a billion in new spending, the $3.7 billion reforms will be paid for
by major changes to how the system is setup.

JULIA GILLARD: Now this recognises the simple reality that those who can support themselves and
contribute a bit more should, and that we must look after the needs of those who can't.

TOM IGGULDEN: In other words, means testing will determine how much people pay for their own care.
But there are important limitations: a $25,000 a year cap on patient contributions, and a $60,000
lifetime cap. The family home won't be included in the means test and those on the full pension
will pay nothing.

Tony Abbott says he supports some change.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: I accept that the system is under strain, I absolutely accept that.

TOM IGGULDEN: But quickly pointed out flaws in the new system

TONY ABBOTT: More means testing means more people pay more. More user pays means more people pay

JULIA GILLARD: So let's expect all the shrill negativity today because Mr Abbott has got no other
speed when he's in front of the media, but when it's in the Parliament we would expect Mr Abbott to
honour his words.

TOM IGGULDEN: And Mr Abbott had a policy announcement of his own today; a one-stop shop for
environmental approvals to be run by the states.

TONY ABBOTT: Ever since I was old enough to understand the term, I've regarded myself as a
conservationist. The terms "conservative" and "conservation" have a common root.

TOM IGGULDEN: But non-conservative conservationists have their doubts about the plan.

DON HENRY, CEO, AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION FOUNDATION: Ripping the federal environment laws away and
giving them to the states for approval would have meant for example Tasmania would have approved
the Franklin Dam, the Queensland Government would have allowed drilling on the Great Barrier Reef.

TOM IGGULDEN: And so another topsy-turvy day in politics with Labor trying to appeal to older
voters who usually go conservative, and the conservatives trying to paint themselves green.

Tom Iggulden, Lateline.