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Auditor-General finds aged care planning inadequate.



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SENATOR CHRIS EVANS

LABOR SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILY SERVICES AND THE AGED

 

AUDITOR-GENERAL FINDS AGED CARE PLANNING INADEQUATE

 

The Auditor General’s Report into Aged Care Planning, tabled in the Senate today, highlights Jo hn Howard’s folly of introducing a fee for beds policy into the nursing homes sector without proper planning, Shadow Minister for Family Services and the Aged, Senator Chris Evans said.

 

“The Auditor-General found that the department was under-prepared when Mr Howard’s iniquitous nursing homes policy was implemented, and is still under-prepared, two years, three Ministers, and 13 policy backflips later,” Senator Evans said.

 

A major theme running through the report was that the Department was vulnerable due to inadequate training and lines of authority.

 

On p 17 the Auditor-General states: “the training of assessors for the 1997-98 round of applications was inadequate and provided too late in the process.”

 

On page 72 the Auditor-General states: “The department is in a vulnerable position because generalist staff are expected to make judgements on accounting data .... where applicants may be proposing multi-million dollar investments. . . there is a particular need to guard against unscrupulous or sub-standard providers."

 

The Auditor-General also picks up:

 

·  significant regional inequities in the provision of aged care, between metropolitan and rural areas, (p15) and

 

·  a loss of experienced staff, and a reduced time that remaining staff have for community contact (p16).

 

“With $3 billion spent in this portfolio area, the Howard Government should have spent far more time producing decent workable policy and providing adequate staffing levels, and training for departmental officers before even contemplating im plementing such major changes,” Senator Evans said.

 

“However, good public policy has never been a hallmark of the Howard Government. The Auditor-General’s report has reinforced this fact.”

 

CONTACT Andrew Lee 6277 3696 (w) 6281 2148 (h)

 

8 DECEMBER 1998

 

 

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