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Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Page: 7928


Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:51): There are over 1,200 elderly people in the Illawarra who have been assessed by this government as having high care needs, but they cannot get the assistance from the government that they require. In fact, there are over 14,000 people like them nationally who are in exactly the same position. They are people like Romano Laurie. He's 81 years of age. He's worked with his hands, physically, in hard work all his life. He lives alone and he wants to stay in the place that he built—his family home that he's lived in all his life—but he has been told that he has to wait for over 12 months to get the aged-care package that he needs.

People like Mr Laurie understand that money is not unlimited and they understand that governments have choices that they have to make, but what they don't understand is that this government has made a choice to give $17 billion to big banks instead of money to pensioners who have high care needs like Mr Laurie. They don't get that this government is so preoccupied with itself that it cannot focus on the needs of people like Romano and the over 14,000 other pensioners and old people around the country. My question to the Prime Minister is: when are you going to stop focusing on yourself and start focusing on the needs of elder Australians?