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Thursday, 10 May 2018
Page: 3714


Ms COLLINS (Franklin) (14:57): My question is to the Minister for Aged Care. Before the budget, Australians were told the government would axe the cut to the energy supplement, announce 20,000 new home care places and invest billions more in aged care. Given none of this happened, hasn't the minister perpetuated a cruel hoax on older Australians?

Mr WYATT (HasluckMinister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health) (14:58): I thank the member for her question. I would suggest that the member, firstly, read the portfolio budget statement in respect of page 193. That identifies the growth over the forward years. It is a $5 billion investment. When we consider—and let me go to another issue in this answer—a rolled-gold Treasurer had responsibility for setting the budgets in home care packages under the Living Longer, Living Better legislation, had he looked at the Australian population pyramid, he would have made a different judgement in respect of the amount that was required. The member for Lilley needed to take that into consideration.

What we have done is we have invested in aged care to the tune of $5 billion. We have increased the number of residential care beds. We have increased the number, in the forward years, of home care places. We are providing programs and services to regional Australia that have a better outcome for people living in the bush. Our budget figures are accurate. They are not zero. I would suggest to the member for Franklin that you read both my statement yesterday and the budget papers, because we are making a serious commitment to senior Australians in this nation across Commonwealth home programs, home care packages and residential care, plus those supporting measures which give them the quality of life that they deserve for the work that they have done for this nation. To scaremonger, fearmonger and create angst among senior Australians is not appropriate. I have people who have now said that they are not going into aged care because of the politicking that is occurring. Start to consider the needs of those who have the pathway into support services.

But our budget measures are increasing. If you look at each year, we increase by approximately $1 billion per year, and over the last four years we've increased the budget by $1 billion to make up for the deficit that was there when we came into government after a Labor government. There is a need for us to focus on their needs and to ensure that they are given the opportunities. Our budget increases are into the forward years. They are real for this coming year. They are real for all elements of living.

Mr Burke interjecting

Mr WYATT: I hear the member for Watson chime in. Our figures, set up in the budget, are a reaction to the reality of what we need to provide for senior Australians. And for each measure we've analysed the need, we've forward planned and we are providing for the needs of Australians. (Time expired)