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Premier Carr hiding on aged care.

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Media Release

The Hon Kevin Andrews MP Minister for Ageing

KA223/2003 21 September 2003


FEDERAL Minister for Ageing Kevin Andrews has called on NSW Premier Bob Carr to release his Government's report into aged care - three years after it was commissioned.

"What is the Carr Government hiding?" Mr Andrews said.

"Why won't the NSW Government remove unnecessary and costly duplications in aged care when they have recognised that they have the most costly and complex regulatory system in Australia?"

Mr Andrews cited a recent incident where the NSW Department of Health refused to licence an aged care home because it did not have enough hand basins.

"This is despite the fact the Department had previously approved all the plans for the home," he said. "Another home was told to pull down a verandah - even though it complied with all building regulations - because it failed to seek approval from the NSW Department first.

"How many other aged care homes are unable to open their doors because of such unnecessary and costly duplication of regulations?"

In 2000, the Carr Government initiated a review of its aged care legislation, in recognition that it unnecessarily duplicated Commonwealth legislation.

NSW has two separate licensing and regulatory systems for aged care homes. Under NSW legislation, alterations and extensions must be approved by the NSW Health Department. This is on top of complying with general building regulations.

Mr Andrews said the NSW Health Department has not bothered to put in a submission to the Australian Government'' $7.2 million independent inquiry into pricing arrangements in aged care.

"On top of all this, Premier Carr's Government has slashed 5330 public hospital beds from NSW since it came to power (according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare)," he said. "In sharp contrast,

the Australian Government has allocated 16,866 aged care places to NSW since 1995. Premier Carr must be called to account for his appalling health and aged care record."

MEDIA inquiries: Felicity Dargan (Press Secretary) 0409 550 446