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Relationship breakdown doesn't bode well for seniors.



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Margaret May MP

Shadow Minister for Ageing

MEDIA RELEASE

8 July 2008 MM08/07/08

RELATIONSHIP BREAKDOWN DOESN’T BODE WELL FOR SENIORS

Shadow Minister for Ageing Margaret May has called on the Hon Justine Elliot (Minister for Ageing) to mend her fences with the aged care sector to ensure the sustainability of aged care in Australia.

Mrs May said: “I’ve watched with bewilderment the way in which the Minister has treated the aged care industry since being appointed Minister for Ageing and I’m not surprised that the relationship has broken down to such a point that the industry has gone public on the matter.

“Mrs Elliot has, at every opportunity, undermined the industry along with the dedicated and loyal workers who work in the industry.

“I’m not sure what she is playing at but it’s of huge concern because aged care is at crisis point. Aged care is the biggest social issue that Australia faces.

“We’re already beginning to see the signs of a system that’s stretched to the limit with facilities being forced to close doors, operators losing money, beds under-subscribed and decisions being made at the board level to halt funding applications for further beds.

“The industry has no certainty as to funding levels beyond 2009 and is therefore unable to make plans for the future.

“Against this backdrop we have a gigantic rift that’s developed between the Minister and the sector.

“How can Australians be confident that they will receive the level of care they need if the Minister cannot sit down with industry and develop policy for the future without consultations ending in a slanging match.

“There’s a great deal of pointless and counterproductive rhetoric coming out of the Minister’s office which serves no purpose and alienates the industry and the people who work in the industry.

“To be effective the Minister needs to work closely and cooperatively with stakeholders and I call on her to change tack before she causes further damage to the industry and older Australians.

“The Minister indicated in a speech in Melbourne recently that she wanted to work with industry - well its high time she started to”, Mrs May said.

ENDS

Media contract Krystyna Homik 0408 739 273