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Report: Government still failing on aged care beds.



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Media Release

Senator Jan McLucas Labor Senator for Queensland

Sh

adow Minister for Ageing, Disabilities and Carers

28 November 2006

Report: Government still failing on aged care beds

The Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997, July 2005-June 2006, released today shows the Howard Government is still failing to meet the residential aged care needs of frail older Australians.

According to the Report, there are only 85.6 residential aged care beds for every 1000 people aged 70 years and over, compared with the Government's target of 88 beds - which was reduced from 90 in 2004. This leaves a shortfall of 4613 beds across the country at June 2006, with the worst provision being in the ACT.

"The Howard Government has consistently failed to provide sufficient aged care beds needed for the increasingly frail elderly in Australia," Senator McLucas said. "Even though the Government keeps claiming it is providing more aged care places, they are just not keeping up with the ageing of the population in Australia.

"In 10 long years, the Howard Government has turned a surplus of 800 aged care beds in 1996 into a 4613 shortfall in June 2006. When Labor left Government there were 92 beds for every 1000 people aged 70 years an over compared with only 85.6 now. This out of touch Government is failing to meet the needs of an ageing society."

80

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84

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88

90

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199 5 199 6 19 97 199 8 19 99 200 0 2 001 2 00 2 20 03 2 00 4 20 05 2 006

June 2006

70+ population Target: 88 beds for 1000 people aged 70 and over

Actual operational ratio Actual operational places

Bed shortages vs 88 target

NSW 675798 59294 84.1 56717 -2577

VIC 496919 43729 86.0 42768 -967

Qld 344373 30305 85.5 29446 -859

SA 174208 15330 91.8 15994 664

WA 169141 14884 84.7 14317 -567

Tas 50683 4460 87.6 4440 -20

NT 5144 453 103.8 534 81

ACT 22292 1962 71.5 1594 -368

Aus 1938558 170416 85.6 165804 -4613

The bed figures for the NT are higher because of higher aged care bed provision for the poorer health status of the indigenous population

Contact: Sen Jan McLucas 0407 169 206 Heather Witham 0417 010 734