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Thursday, 5 December 2019
Page: 7168

Ms COLLINS (Franklin) (16:41): As the minister has outlined, the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (New Commissioner Functions) Bill 2019 does provide for the transfer, function and powers from the Department of Health to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. Unfortunately, the minister has said that it confers new powers; it does not. The department already holds these powers, and it is actually a missed opportunity not to give the new commission that started on 1 January this year some additional powers.

Specifically, we think that the government should have done more to ensure transparency around funding and to ensure more around the complaints mechanisms and outcomes of complaints and give the commission more powers to arbitrate when people make a complaint about what is happening in aged care in Australia today. This government has continually said that it is doing things to fix the aged-care system, but it has been very, very slow and is certainly not good enough.

The report that recommended some of these things the government is moving in this bill is more than two years old. It is not good enough for the government to come in here and say: 'We've done enough. We've got a royal commission on, and we're not going to do anything else'. We need to implement the royal commission's interim recommendations which the government says it's done, but of course it only provided 10,000 new home-care packages when we still have 120,000 older Australians waiting on that waitlist.

We know that the government could be doing more in terms of all the other recommendations that it has sitting on its desk today. We know that major reform is going to be required when we get the final recommendations from this royal commission. It was quite difficult to sit and listen to the Prime Minister in question time today, trying to pretend that we have said no to bipartisanship. I've been offering bipartisanship now for more than three years when it comes to aged care.

Unfortunately, this government is not doing enough. We are not going to let older Australians down on this side of the House by sitting back and letting the government get away with not doing enough. We are not going to sit here quietly and be quiet, if the government is not doing enough because that will be failing older Australians. I'm not going to sit by and allow the government to continually fail older Australians.

Whilst we support this bill, we wanted to see more from the government. There should've been more from the government, and here we are on the eve of the parliament getting up for the year, more than two years after the government had this report. I sincerely hope it doesn't take them more than two years to implement the royal commission's recommendations.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.