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Monday, 1 September 2014
Page: 9152


Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (14:23): My question is to the Prime Minister. Before the election, in a press release dated 26 August 2013, the Prime Minister said:

Over 320,000 Australians are afflicted by dementia …

These numbers will only increase as our population gets older.

Prime Minister, given the increasing number of Australians affected by dementia, why did you cut the dementia and severe behaviours supplement without warning to anyone?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:23): As I explained in answer to the previous question, from the Leader of the Opposition, this was a poorly designed and underfunded program. I accept that the former government was trying to do the right thing. Regrettably, in this area—as in so many others—good intentions were not matched by smooth and effective implementation of policy. Good intentions were not matched by effective public administration. I repeat to the member who just asked the question what I said in response to the previous question: this particular program has been suspended. It will be redesigned in consultation with the aged-care sector to ensure that dementia sufferers are dealt with appropriately, suitably and with compassion.

We do take the problem of dementia very seriously indeed. That is why, to honour our election commitments, the recent budget included a $200 million boost to research on the treatment of dementia. This is a very serious problem. It deserves to be tackled properly and comprehensively, and that is exactly what will happen under this government.