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South-West WA faces looming aged care crisis.



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Rachel Siewert

South-West WA faces looming aged care crisis Media Release | Spokesperson Rachel Siewert

Tuesday 21st July 2009, 1:37pm

Greens Senator for Western Australia Rachel Siewert has warned that South-West WA faces a crisis in

residential aged care if new beds are not built to meet the projected demand.

Senator Siewert said she was concerned that the Federal Government has failed to address the underlying

short fall in funding. Despite rising demand for new beds, not enough are being built because the funding

the Government has on the table is inadequate.

"According to the Federal Department of Health and Ageing, 70 new beds needed to built in 2008-2009 to

meet demand in two to four years' time, which as long as it takes for the new facilities to be built and up

and running," Senator Siewert said.

"However, no aged care service providers applied to build the beds because the rate at which the Federal

Government is funding them is too low to be affordable for the providers.

"The Department is seeking applications from the aged care sector to build an additional 140 beds in the

South-West in 2009-2010 and another 250 applications in 2010-2011, but unless we see an improvement

in Government funding, I doubt many organisations will apply to build these beds either.

"Therefore, we could see a shortfall in residential aged care beds in the South-West by about 2013 of 360

beds.

"As a member of the Senate committee that recently completed a national inquiry into residential and

community aged care services, I am concerned that we are sleep-walking into a crisis for our growing older

population.

"It is well and truly time the Rudd Government paid attention to this looming crisis and took steps to

address this," Senator Siewert concluded.

For more information or media inquiries, please call Eloise Dortch on 0415 507 763.