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Thursday, 31 May 2018
Page: 5179

Aged Care

Mr HOGAN (PageDeputy Speaker) (14:55): My question is to the Minister for Aged Care. Will the minister update the House on how the government is increasing support to older Australians, especially those living in regional, rural and remote Australia, including in my electorate of Page? How do different courses of action threaten the wellbeing of older Australians?

Mr WYATT (HasluckMinister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health) (14:55): I thank the member for Page for his question, for his continued and ongoing interest in looking after older Australians in regional, rural and remote Australia, and for his contribution to the budget. Every year the coalition is going to increase funding, so funding is up, home care packages are up and residential places are up. There are 20,000 additional high-level home care packages now in play, $40 million to support aged-care providers in regional and rural Australia, 14,000 residential beds and short-term restorative care places to be made available, $105 million for Indigenous communities, 60 million for capital investment, and investment in additional viability supplements for regional areas of Australia.

The greatest risk for older Australians would be a Labor government. In September last year, the Leader of the Opposition was in Townsville saying that Australians don't want or need another tax. Now he wants to tax retirees. He wants to rip into the pockets of retirees, who've worked hard all their lives, and take 10.6 million out of their pockets. To the 3,534 people of Braddon: we won't do that to you. To the people of Longman, the self-funded retirees, the 4,356 of you: we will not do that to you. To the 7,643 in Mayo: we will not do that to you. Our older Australians who built this nation—and we enjoy the benefits of their hard work—deserve to keep their hard earned-money in their own pockets to spend.

Unlike the opposition, who ripped money out of aged care to prop up their budget bottom line, the government is making record investments in aged care. It's a record $5 billion. I also want to say to the people in Braddon, Longman and Mayo who are over 65: those services are there for you. We will make sure that we deliver on the aged-care needs of people in this country. This government has a real plan for Australians. On my recent visit to Page, with the great local member the member for Page, we enjoyed a visit to Grafton where we saw older Australians enjoying the benefits of living with certainty, knowing that the quality of care is better, their ageing opportunities are better, and their access to aged-care services is better.

The other element to this is that the Turnbull government has the best interests of older Australians in mind and will continue to work for them, unlike the opposition who wants to tax them, scare them and intentionally set out to deceive them. This government will continue to focus on the needs of our self-funded retirees and senior Australians, who deserve better than what they get.(Time expired)