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Muddy waters don't change facts: where are Labor's aged care answers.

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Labor is attempting to distort the accuracy of the Coalition’s aged care policy in a belated effort to divert further scrutiny from its own aged care costing shortfall.

"Its been three weeks since Labor released its aged care policy and questions about its fundamental elements remain unanswered by Labor," Mrs Bishop said.

"In contrast, the Coalition has provided complete transparency on its aged care policy by submitting the details of its costings to the Department of Finance," Mrs Bishop said.

Mrs Bishop said Labor has deliberately misrepresented the information provided by the Department of Finance on the Coalitions aged care initiative, ‘More Community Aged Care Packages’ and ‘Partners in Care’.

The Department of Finance costing is of one initiative and not the entire aged care policy.

Labor’s assertion that all the Government’s commitments on aged care were already included in the forward estimates is totally wrong.

Mrs Bishop said the Coalition has a firm commitment to a fully funded aged care policy.

"The Coalition’s aged care policy represents $416 million in additional aged care funding," Mrs Bishop said.

Labor must stop hiding its aged care policy from proper financial scrutiny and insist that its aged care policy be properly costed before the conclusion of the election in time to ensure proper public scrutiny of the Department’s findings by the community.

Mrs Bishop said Labor was still silent on key questions about its aged care policy:-What is the number of aged care beds to be built under Labor?

What are the costs of any additional care subsidies?

What is the exact nature and cost of the interest free loans and who will qualify?

Mrs Bishop called on Labor to explain why it had backed down on Kim Beazley's statement on 13 October 2001 that "Labor's first priority will be to deliver the 12,000 aged care beds".

The Courier Mail said on 2 November 2001 that "Labor had never promised 12,000 beds. We are saying we can come up with $200 million … and we'll see how many beds can be built with that."

Media Contact : Andrew Cummins (Office of Minister Bishop) 0401 995 533

7 November 2001