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Opposition calls on government to restore hostel care subsidy



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RAY BRAJTHWA1TE, M.H.R. FEDERAL MEMBER FOR DAWSON SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNITY SERVICES AND AGED CARE

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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

OPPOSITION CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO RESTORE HOSTEL CARE SUBSIDY

Mr Ray Braithwaite, Shadow Minister for Community Services and Aged Care, today called on the Government to urgently review its decision to withdraw retrospectively the hostel care subsidy for residents in aged persons homes.

The Government's Budget decision to withdraw the subsidy for residents who are not financially disadvantaged - which came into effect last week - will mean that hostel residents will have to pay more for their accommodation, or the voluntary body running the hostel will pick up the tab.

'This Government obviously doesn't know the value of the

volunteers in hostels and nursing homes throughout this country', said the Shadow Minister. 'Its initiatives and funding cutbacks during the last session of Parliament are putting intolerable pressures on this important unpaid sector of the workforce.'

Mr Braithwaite deplored the retrospective element of this cutback.

'Existing residents have agreements with the hostels in which they live on fees and charges. Many proprietors will be forced to break these agreements to recover the lost subsidies so that government care standards can be maintained'.

Mr Braithwaite said that as late as 20 December, in the final debate in Parliament of the legislation introducing this cutback, he had implored the Government to reconsider its decision.

He said that back in October, even the Prime Minister had agreed that there should be a review of the retrospective element of this Budget initiative, and had suggested a grandfather clause to the legislation, phasing out the subsidy in, say, two years.

'I call on the Minister responsible for aged care, and the Prime Minister, to heed the pleas of the voluntary sector and the

elderly residents in aged persons homes and to amend the

legislation withdrawing this subsidy', said Mr Braithwaite.

CANBERRA, 13 January 1991·-■. m r

Inquiriest (06) 277 4218

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