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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 14863


Ms SHARKIE (Mayo) (14:18): My question is to the Treasurer. There are 128,000 elderly Australians who are waiting for a home care package, with delays of up to two years. The waiting list grows by 20,000 every six months. I have many elderly constituents desperately waiting for help with showering and with keeping their homes clean. As 93-year-old Jack said to me, 'If we can't get help at this age, how bad does it have to get?' Treasurer, why did you fund just 10,000 new home care packages in your budget? Why are you treating our most vulnerable older Australians this way?

Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongThe Treasurer) (14:19): I thank the member for Mayo for her question. I can inform her that we've actually funded 40,000 new additional home care packages since the 2017-18 MYEFO and that in 2019-20 the government, led by the minister, is providing $21.6 billion to fund better services for aged care. This is an increase of more than 50 per cent for aged-care funding, since 2013-14. And in this budget we are providing $282 million for an additional 10,000 home care packages, to support older Australians who wish to stay at home. As of 30 September 2018, 74 per cent more people had access to a high-level package than at 30 June 2017. The government is also providing $5.9 billion, over two years from 2020-21, to extend the Commonwealth Home Support Program, providing access to essential services and home support services like Meals on Wheels. The government is also providing $320 million in a general subsidy boost this year—in 2018-19—for residential aged care, and 13,500 new residential care places.

There's also money in this budget for carers, because they're the unsung heroes. We've provided $84 million to ensure they can get some respite and leave their loved one getting the proper care while they do so. We also have a number of other measures in this budget to support aged care and to support residential care. We believe in helping those Australians who need our help and we are funding it in record amounts.