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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2492

Ms McBRIDE (Dobell) (13:55): Nine hundred and fifty older Australians on the Central Coast of New South Wales are waiting for home care packages, and some have been waiting for 12 months. They are among 100,000 older Australians waiting for home care, and that is not good enough. Many older Australians want to stay in their own homes, and home care makes that possible. But, as confirmed in Senate estimates today, this government is letting them down.

Among the constituents who have sought my help is Jane, on behalf of her mother Joan, who is 91. Joan had been doing well in her own home until just after her 90th birthday. After a trip to hospital and recuperation at her daughter's home, Joan qualified for a level 4 high-needs package so she could return home. That was in September 2016, and it took until October 2017 for that care to be approved—more than 12 months! But there was a glitch. Although My Aged Care had approved Joan for level 4 care, she was only registered with Medicare for level 2. That meant Joan was spending her allocated $3,600 a month when in fact she was only receiving $900. That left her $2,700 a month out of pocket—and it has taken 4 months to sort out!

Long waits and mistakes like this are not acceptable—not for individuals and not for their families. This government must sort out its home care debacle. As a daughter of someone who recently needed in-home care, I say that this must be fixed now.