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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1942


Mr DICK (Oxley) (12:22): We just heard a sanctimonious speech by the member for Dunkley, saying that we can now understand the demand and we now have choice, and speaking of all the good things that this government somehow want to be recognised for. That's right: we can recognise demand, we can have choice—but the government is not funding. This government is so out of touch, and members in marginal electorates like Dunkley need to get their heads out of the sand and start understanding that a crisis is unfolding. They want pats on the back while 10,000 vulnerable and older Australians are added to the wait list, and then they have the cheek, the absolute gall, to somehow say, 'It's not our fault.' They have been in government coming up now to six years—

Mr Ramsey interjecting

Mr DICK: The member for Grey says, 'Six years?' You're entering your sixth year of government. Work it out. The election was in 2013. You're in 2018. That's five years. You're entering your sixth year of government.

Mr Ramsey interjecting

Mr DICK: He says, 'You're right.' I say to those opposite: stop the blame game, because vulnerable Australians aren't copping your nonsense. Those frail Australians in my electorate and other electorates right across Australia have had a gutful of a government that is so out of touch, so far from reality, that when we are talking about a crisis in the aged-care sector it wants to get up and be congratulated for its work. Have the guts to acknowledge there is a problem in the system. Have the guts to go to my community. I acknowledge the member for Hindmarsh, who is here today, and thank him for putting this on the agenda and having the guts to get up and call the government out, to hold them to account. As the Deputy Chair of the Standing Committee on Health and Ageing, I know he's been a constant champion for older Australians.

We know there are approximately 80,000 to 90,000 home care packages available in this nation, but the latest figures reveal there are now 101,508 elderly Australians waiting in the queue for appropriate home care packages. Of these, more than 60,000 have no package at all and 40,000 have a package at a lower level than they need. It may comfort the government to talk about how great they are, how out of touch they are and how a government back in 2011-12 is somehow the reason we're in this. That doesn't cut it. That's just political spin. That's just rubbish and that's insulting to people in the community. The member for Dunkley and other members opposite like the member for Forde need to work out that there is a crisis in the system.

We heard the minister say that there are financial constraints to keeping people at home. I listened to government members speak today, and they talk about a refocus and reprioritisation—all mumbo jumbo, all rubbish when it comes to actually tackling the issue. No-one's getting up here and calling out the government. No-one's getting out here and calling on the government to take action. They simply want to waltz back to their offices, put their feet up, put the kettle on and not worry about what is happening across the aged-care sector in Australia. We know what the government's priority is. We know that government members like the member for Dunkley and the member for Forde, who were in the chamber today, are not interested in fixing this crisis. They're not interested in tackling this issue. They're here for one reason and one reason alone: to deliver major tax cuts to millionaires and multinational companies. We know that that's their special interest. We know that they are more worried about what's happening at the top end of town, what's happening to those who least need a hand as opposed to those who are in trouble and those who are in a vulnerable situation.

Today I'm calling on the government to start addressing this crisis. I'm calling on the government to make sure that it's listening to the aged-care professionals, those in the sector who are demanding that the government take action on this crisis. We know that time and time again, when it comes to dealing with the tough issues—and I know the government has a lot on its hands with such a dysfunctional and chaotic that we're dealing with, with Liberal-on-Liberal violence, National-on-National violence, Liberal versus National, blowing themselves apart, but who are the losers? It is the people who require aged-care support in my community.