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Thursday, 21 June 2007
Page: 169

Mr SLIPPER (12:39 PM) —I am particularly pleased that the Australian government continues to deliver to older Australians through the Home and Community Care Program, particularly in my electorate of Fisher, which essentially is based on the central and southern parts of Queensland’s wonderful Sunshine Coast. About $900,000 in extra funds have been announced for providers of aged-care services in Fisher.

This is a particularly important initiative. The Home and Community Care program is one of the programs that enable people to continue to reside in their own homes for as long as possible, surrounded by their acquisitions and the things they have brought together during their life. People feel more comfortable in their own environment. If the government is able to make it possible, through assistance, for people to stay in their own homes, it is good not only for those older Australians but also for the community, insofar as much less funding is spent when that occurs than when someone is placed in an aged-care facility. The extra funds of $904,022 will enable frail aged residents and young people with disabilities to remain in their own homes with the support of their families—and the majority of people prefer to be in that situation.

It is wonderful to see this program being funded in an ongoing way in the electorate of Fisher. The organisations receiving funding include Blue Care, Uniting Church, at Caloundra, $311,904; Suncoast Community Services Day Respite Centre at Maroochydore, $115,020; Caloundra Home and Community Care Association at Buddina, $47,743; St Andrews Care, Caloundra, $34,777; Kabbarli House at Moffatt Beach, Caloundra, $19,882; Maroochy Home Maintenance at Kunda Park, $43,671; St Luke’s Nursing Service at Caloundra and Maroochydore, $200,371; RSL War Veterans Home, Caloundra, $26,654; and the Department of Housing on the Sunshine Coast, $104,000.

It is interesting that, with respect to the funding for the Department of Housing, the $104,000 will be used for home modification for eight clients. This is a very practical way of enabling older people to stay in their own residence, their own home, in their own environment. The moneys for the RSL War Veterans Home will provide domestic assistance for nine clients and social support for six clients; for St Luke’s Nursing Service, it will provide domestic assistance, social support, nursing care, personal care, respite care and transport; for Maroochy Home Maintenance, it will provide home maintenance for 33 clients; for Kabbarli House, it will provide centre based day care for three clients and home maintenance for seven clients; and, for St Andrews Care, it will provide home maintenance for 67 clients. The moneys for the Caloundra Home and Community Care Association at Buddina will be used for social support, centre based care and transport; the Suncoast Community Services Day Respite Centre will use its $115,020 for social support, personal care and centre based care; and Blue Care, Uniting Church, Caloundra will use its $311,904 for domestic assistance, social support, nursing care, personal care, centre based day care and transport.

Looking at the enormous array of services being provided out of this Home and Community Care program, you see how worth while and cost-effective it is. It is because of our sound economic management over the last 11 years, since we were first entrusted with the Treasury benches, that we are able to continue to fund Home and Community Care programs. The government has repaid $90 billion of Labor debt, so it is not paying the $8.5 billion in interest on debt that Labor was paying and it is able to spend money on desirable social outcomes, such as the Home and Community Care program in the electorate of Fisher on the Sunshine Coast.