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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9094

Mr CHESTER (Gippsland) (13:51): I rise to highlight huge concerns in the aged-care sector about this government's so-called reform package. I have had the opportunity to meet with aged-care providers in my electorate, and to say they are alarmed about the future viability of their critically important services is an understatement. Aged and Community Care Victoria released a statement in June this year titled 'Gillard government slashes aged care funding', which states:

… CEO Kate Hough said the industry was shocked to learn that the high-profile budget announcement of a $50 million redirection for the next financial year resulted in a real reduction in funding of over $500 million.

Modelling by providers has consistently shown that subsidy income will be substantially reduced—a cut of between five and 10 per cent for every provider.

The statement quotes Ms Hough as saying:

As a result of this new model, residents with exactly the same care needs in the same facility could be entitled to different levels of funding.

The board of the Sale Elderly Citizens Village has written to me to express similar concerns. They said:

Someone needs to speak up for the Aged and the Facilities that provide these people with the love, care and attention they both need and deserve.

This impacts on us not only by the new charges for electricity, gas, rising insurance costs, the new EBA which is being negotiated at present, carbon tax etc but there will be such a differential between Residents that are in our facility now versus the ones that will come in after the July 1st.

I urge the minister and the Prime Minister to stop hiding behind the spin and actually start delivering better services for older Australians.