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Pike fails to convince Beazley of merits of Victorian community care needs.

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The Federal Labor Party have supported the Coalition Government’s policy for the Home and Community Care program despite protests from Victorian Aged Care Minister Bronwyn Pike and Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, Federal Aged Care Minister Bronwyn Bishop said today.

Today, Mrs Bishop refuted claims that HACC was underfunded in Victoria - a fact reinforced by the Federal Labor Party whose policy on HACC provides no extra funding.

"In the Federal Labor Party aged care policy, the ALP support the growth in HACC as identified in the Coalition Government’s forward estimates," Mrs Bishop said.

"So if HACC is underfunded, Ms Pike and Mr Bracks have also failed to convince Kim Beazley," Mrs Bishop said.

The Federal Labor Party has also supported the growth in Community and Aged Care Packages - that is the provision of services in your own home. A re-elected Coalition Government has gone further by promising an extra 6000 CACPs on top of the forward estimates.

Mrs Bishop defended the Coalition’s strong record of funding home and community care services in Victoria.

"The Coalition Government has allocated $167 million to the HACC services in Victoria in 2001-02. This represents an increase of $9.4 million in Commonwealth funding from last year’s funding. The total HACC funding for Victoria in 2001-02 through the HACC agreement is $279 million," Mrs Bishop said.

Mrs Bishop said Victoria continues to have the highest per capita rate accessing HACC services of any State or Territory for 2001/02

"Victoria continues to have the highest per capita funding of $709 against the National average of $588,"Mrs Bishop said.

"Under the Commonwealth/State Government agreement, the Commonwealth contributes 60 per cent of funding," Mrs Bishop said.

"But there is nothing stopping the State Government from contributing more than 40 per cent - and if they believe what they preach, they could use their $1.2 billion budget surplus to put more funds into the program."

The State Government under the Commonwealth/State HACC agreement has the right to distribute the

funds to service providers - it is the State Government which decides what level of funding the providers get."

"The Municipal Association of Victoria should be asking the Victorian Government - who have total responsibility for the distribution of funds - for an increased share of a growing funding pie."

"The Coalition Government have increased their share of the funding in recognition that more people want services to be cared for in their own home," Mrs Bishop said.

Media contact - Andrew Cummins (Minister Bishop’s office) 0401 995 533


31 October 2001