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Minister for inaction strikes again!



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Margaret May MP

Federal Member for McPherson Shadow Minister for Ageing

MEDIA RELEASE

17 February, 2009

MINISTER FOR INACTION STRIKES AGAIN!

The Minister for Inaction, Justine Elliot MP has continued to ignore the need for aged care reform despite a Government report promoting the need for major change to Australia‟s aged care system.

The Government yesterday released The National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission Interim Report (the report).

“The report recognised that that the aged care sector is in need of serious reform, suggesting that radical action be taken in order to meet the needs of an ageing population,” Shadow Minister for Ageing Margaret May said today.

“The report - and recognised by the aged care industry and the federal Coalition - found that it was inappropriate to reject discussion of refundable deposits for high-care.

“The federal Coalition has not ruled out any possible funding solutions, including refundable deposits for high-care.

“The industry in its current state is financially not viable. The industry is in crisis.

“All options must be on the table when drastic action is needed to reform a sector in crisis.

“The Minister for Inaction should take a similar approach to ensure a viable and sustainable aged care system.

“Despite possessing the Reform Commission‟s report since last year, the Minister for Inaction has not lifted a finger to address bottlenecks in the system.

“It seems the Minister for Inaction is in competition with NSW Minister for Ports, Joe Tripodi, to see who can create the most bottlenecks in their portfolio.

“The report noted that without reform, the transition from hospital to residential care will continue to „bottleneck‟.

“Only 90 aged care places are available for the 2000 people aged over 70 leaving hospital on any one day - creating enormous pressure on the aged care industry.

“And the pressure is unlikely to ease any time soon.

“The report highlights that by 2020, Australia will need an additional 114,000 care places (51% increase) and an additional 240,000 (108% increase) aged care places by 2030.

“This is following the 2008-09 Aged Care Approvals Round which was underlined by serious under-subscription from Hobart to Perth - exacerbating looming bed shortages.

“Given the Minister for Inaction‟s ignorance to what is happening in the sector, I would not be surprised if she was using the report as a door-stop and had not even read the report.

“The Federal Coalition, aged care providers, and even the Government‟s own National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission recognise the need for drastic change.

“It‟s time the Minister for Inaction recognised the need for major aged care reform,” said Mrs May.

Media Enquiries: Damian Marwood 0438 702 803